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JAL to join oneworld alliance in early 2007

Written by: Staff
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PARIS, June 4 (Reuters) Japan Airlines will join oneworld, the airline alliance led by British Airways Plc and American Airlines Inc, in early 2007, the carriers said today.

Asia's biggest carrier first announced plans to join the global network in October, seeking to bolster its services and operations after a series of safety mishaps hurt its image.

The plans were formalised at a oneworld board meeting in Paris ahead of a meeting of global airlines lobby IATA from tomorrow.

JAL aims to attract more travellers by taking advantage of a bigger route network and interline electronic ticketing.

In the past it has had alliances with individual airlines including oneworld leaders American Airlines, part of AMR Corp, and British Airways, but remained out of global groups.

Its domestic rival All Nippon Airways Co is a member of the Star Alliance, one of the three major global air associations alongside oneworld.

Eighty per cent of passengers travel with the three global alliances, also including SkyTeam.

Together with Hungary's Malev and Royal Jordanian, planned recruits will increase oneworld's passenger capacity by a fifth, taking its share of global air transport to almost 20 per cent, the group said in a statement.

Oneworld said revenues arising from alliance fares and sales activities had risen 20 per cent to some 650 million dollars in 2005.

Besides American and BA, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Lan Chile, Aer Lingus and Qantas Airways are members of oneworld.

JAL's bottom line, like its peers worldwide, has been hit by high fuel prices. It has also suffered from safety problems, including engine trouble and a takeoff without permission, that prompted some domestic passengers to use ANA instead.

Besides the main airline, five other members of the JAL group will join oneworld as affiliates, the alliance said.

REUTERS SRS RAI2051

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