Cases & Deals

American Airlines secures alliance with Japan Airlines

Client(s) American Airlines, Inc.

Jones Day represented American Airlines, Inc. before antitrust and regulatory agencies in Asia and the U.S. in a successful global effort to retain its multi-year joint business agreement with Japan Airlines, under which JAL will remain within the oneworld alliance. This followed a highly publicized contest with Delta Airlines. Delta repeatedly had sought JAL's move from oneworld to the competing SkyTeam alliance, and its overtures continued even as JAL filed for bankruptcy protection. Because a combination of JAL's and Delta's overlapping Tokyo hub operations would have substantially reduced competition in many U.S.-Asia markets, American contended that a JAL/SkyTeam agreement would be anticompetitive and did not qualify for an antitrust exemption. In February 2010, JAL announced its decision to remain in oneworld. Within a few days, JAL and American had signed definitive alliance agreements and began proceedings, ultimately successful, to win approval for their arrangement from U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Tourism in Japan. Jones Day lawyers in Washington, Tokyo, New York, and Dallas advised American on the complex regulatory, antitrust and transactional issues presented by this matter.