The Japanese government is mulling merging both All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines to help the carrier survive the Covid-19 crisis, according to reports in the media. The idea to merge both carriers has come from Heizo Takenaka, a former minister and advisor to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
Recently, South Korean aviation giants Korean Air and Asiana announced a similar plan to merge their businesses in order to sustain their operations. Both ANA and Japan Airlines are in need of government aid to weather the Covid-19 storm, and hence a merger would make sense for the carriers.
Both ANA and Japan Airlines are major international carriers and are among the biggest carriers in Asia, carrying nearly 100 million passengers between them. The carriers are also rivals with similar fleets and competing on similar routes. A potential merger between ANA and Japan Airlines would create one of the biggest airlines in Asia.
However, no decision has been taken as of yet and the idea has only been floated unofficially. No prominent decision from the Japanese government can be expected within a short period of time.
Last month, Japan Airlines forecasted a record operating loss of as much as ¥380 billion yen for the year through March because of the coronavirus pandemic. The carrier also announced that it would retire 24 of its Boeing 777 aircraft to sustain its business amid the difficult times. During the same period, ANA also said that it would retire more than a tenth of its Boeing fleet and delay two aircraft orders for similar reasons.