28 January 2010

Its Offical - JAL Defects To Skyteam

Well Not Quite Official but on Monday according to many sources in Japan it will be.

So let's look beyond the headline and consider the impact. For JAL its not business as usual no matter what happens. The airline is in deep trouble and the lifeline it has now is not without limits - least of which will be time.

OneWorld will take a major blow as a result of the defection. American is not likely to take this lying down so we can expect there will be some legal knots to work out. This will take some significant amount of time.

Skyteam like Star is developing a two tier membership. JAL and DL will develop a formal Transpacific Immunity Pact that will mirror the ANA-UAL pact and indeed it will resemble the Trans Atlantic Immunity requests that have resulted in pacts on the Transatlantic such as A++ (LH, UA, AC and CO) and the Skyteam version (DL, AF/KL).

The obvious strengthening ties between the various hubs will occur however perhaps we can peer beyond this and look at the impact on lesser members of the Alliances. If OneWorld is to remain viable AA and BA have to get closer. Also they have to find another Asian Partner. KAL and CA are interesting possibilities. If Air China can tolerate Eva Air the surely CX can coexist with either KAL or CA. However QF may emerge as a powerful force not through mainline but through the footprint of JetStar.

There is going to be a lot of shuttle diplomacy over the next few months as the carriers jockey for position in their respective relationships.

With the opening up of markets in Asia - indeed Open Skies coming to the ASEAN nations - we can expect competition to emerge and indeed start to make a lot more sense with the lowering of tariffs and freedom of movement improving.

It will be interesting. For now - let's sit back and watch the battle for Japan play out.


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