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Delta Air Lines Looks to Recue Japan’s Bankrupt Carrier Skymark


Skymark

US carrier Delta Air Lines will be joining a bid to save Japan's bankrupt carrier Skymark, possibly providing the North American carrier an exceptional entrance point into the domestic Japanese market. Delta would become a minority shareholder in Skymark Airlines Inc. as it plans to buy as much as 20 percent of the company’s shares. This would give the US airline access to domestic landing slots at Tokyo's Haneda airport.

The plan was offered by the bankrupt Japanese carrier’s largest creditor, obliging investors to decide between competing plans at a key meeting in early August. The plan suggested by Intrepid Aviation Ltd., Delta would consider a codeshare arrangement with Japan’s third largest airline, while allowing Skymark’s administration to stay self-regulating. Intrepid had been looking for an airline backer as part of a Skymark rehabilitation plan, which Intrepid claims Skymark still owes it 104 billion yen ($841 million). The original plan proposed by Skymark and the private equity firm Integral Corp. was denied by Intrepid as it was highly dependent on the backing of Japan’s largest airline, All Nippon Airways Co.

Intrepid has stated: “Intrepid believes this plan offers the best opportunity to preserve Skymark as Japan's third-largest independent carrier and is in the best interests of the carrier's employees, suppliers, and creditors”.

If the Delta deal deems to be a success, it would be the first foreign airline to be admitted to slots for domestic flights at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. Currently, the slots are only allowed to Japanese carriers, including ANA, Japan Airlines, and Skymark. Skymark filed for bankruptcy protection in late January, linked to a cancelled $2.2 billion jet order with Airbus. Although the airline is still operating, its efforts to turn rehabilitated itself failed as it struggled with competition all while managing with the unfortunate collapse of its Airbus deal last summer.

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