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Published on Friday, November 27, 2020

Japanese government official suggests merger of ANA, JAL

The Japanese government has suggested the country's top two airlines should merge.

With both Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways seeking government aid to navigate the Covid-19 crisis, a government advisor said a merger may be in the government's and the airlines' interest.

The idea was floated by Heizo Takenaka, a former minister and advisor to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Bollmberg reports.

It comes after South Korea's top two airlines Korean Air and Asiana announced merger plans.

"ANA and JAL should come together at this time. Now would be an opportunity for such a bold mechanism," Takenaka said in an interview.

"It is natural to stop bleeding by financing with the Development Bank of Japan or using the existing system, but I feel that the time will come when we will have to do it within a larger system."

Both airlines are seeking bailouts and both are bracing for record full-year losses.

Both airlines' battered stock rose on the news.

Although highly unlikely, if it were to happen it would create one of Asia's largest airlines.

The government hasn't officially commented and a merger is sure to fall foul of its own anti-competition rules.


Written by Ray Montgomery, Asia Editor

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