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JAL formally accepts oneworld invitation

Japan Airlines (JAL) has taken another step towards joining the oneworld alliance by accepting a formal letter of invitation from the multilateral grouping.

The letter was accepted at a meeting of member airlines in Paris on Sunday 4 June. It comes six months after JAL confirmed its intention to join the grouping, which was followed in February by the signing of a memorandum of understanding.

JAL Oneworld entry W445

American Airlines chairman Gerard Arpey presents JAL CEO designate Haruka Nishimatsu with an invitation to join oneworld

JAL, Asia’s largest airline, says it hopes to become a full member of oneworld early next year and 1 April 2007 is thought to be the internal target date.

“Japan Airlines and oneworld have been able to conclude all necessary membership agreements extremely speedily, which signals excellent working relationships going forward,” JAL chief executive-designate Haruka Nishimatsu said at a press briefing in Paris.

“We are determined to maintain this pace and build on this level of co-operation to enable JAL to join oneworld as soon as possible, to the benefit of our customers, shareholders and employees.”

oneworld says JAL and its affiliate carriers will add 47 destinations to the alliance’s overall network.

In addition to JAL itself, five other JAL Group airlines will join oneworld as affiliate carriers, namely JALways, Japan Asia Airways, JAL Express, J-Air and Japan Transocean Air.

Meanwhile, existing oneworld member airlines that serve Tokyo’s Narita airport excluding British Airways are to consolidate their operations at the airport’s Terminal 2, from where JAL operates.

Qantas Airways already operates from the terminal while American Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways and Finnair plan to move from Terminal 1 next year.

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