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JAL mulls starting low-cost carrier

Japan Airlines (JAL) is considering starting a low-cost carrier, and has roped in fellow Oneworld carrier Qantas Airways in its study.

"We have been studying what they are doing with Jetstar [Qantas' low-cost subsidiary]," says a JAL spokeswoman.

"With the deregulation of the Japanese aviation industry, we are looking at ways to stay above the competition and starting a low-cost carrier could be one of those ways."

The spokeswoman cautions, however, that there is no concrete plan or timeline yet to launch a low-cost airline.

JAL filed for bankruptcy protection in January and is expected to unveil a rehabilitation plan today. Over the past months, it has announced plans to drop unprofitable routes and divest non-core subsidiaries.

JAL's rival All Nippon Airways has also said it is considering starting a new low-cost carrier. Reports say it could base the airline out of Osaka Kansai International Airport, but ANA has said no decision has been made yet.

In July, ANA merged its low-cost subsidiary Air Japan with cargo carrier ANA & JP Express.

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