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September 16, 2009

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Battered JAL outlines job cuts and stake sell-off

STRUGGLING Japan Airlines Corp said yesterday it aims to conclude tie-up talks with foreign carriers by mid-October and announced plans to slash 14 percent of its workers under a major restructuring plan.

Delta Air Lines Inc, the world's biggest airline operator, and its rival American Airlines are vying to buy a stake in JAL, which suffered its biggest quarterly net loss of 99 billion yen (US$1 billion) in the three months to June.

Haruka Nishimatsu, president of Asia's biggest airline, said the 6,800 job cuts would be carried out over three years and be completed in the fiscal year ending March 2012. He declined to give further details on cuts and talks with foreign airlines.

Apart from the United States carriers, the cash-strapped Japanese airline is reportedly in talks with Air France-KLM, Europe's biggest airline group, and Korean Air Lines Co over capital injections.

JAL, battered by the downturn in global air travel, has forecast a net loss of 63 billion yen for the current fiscal year to March 2010. It plans to cut flights and slash costs by 53 billion yen during the current fiscal year and another 100 billion yen in the next fiscal year.

Nishimatsu told experts supervising JAL's restructuring that it would sharply reduce the number of international flights and cut personnel costs, said transport ministry official Hideto Orihara.

JAL told the panel that it was "exploring various options" to improve its business, according to Orihara, who attended the meeting.


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