UPDATE 1-Air France-KLM in talks to invest in JAL-source

Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:52pm EDT

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(Adds details of airlines preferred, background)

NEW YORK, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA) is in talks with Japan Airlines 9205.T to form an alliance by injecting a few hundred million dollars and taking a minority stake in the struggling carrier, a source familiar with the matter said.

Air France-KLM, Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) and American Airlines AMR.N are in separate "early stage" talks with Japan Airlines, said the source, who declined to be identified because the talks have not been made public.

The carriers are discussing an investment of $200 million to $300 million each, in exchange for a minority stake and a code-sharing relationship, but talks are fluid and the numbers could change every day, the source said.

The Japanese government prefers Delta Air Lines or Air France-KLM, which it views as financially healthier than American Airlines, the source said.

But JAL prefers American Airlines, with which it has an existing partnership through the Oneworld alliance, the source said. JAL and American have been code-sharing partners for a decade.

JAL, Asia's largest airline by revenue, lost about $1 billion last quarter and is under growing pressure to raise money and slash costs after securing a 100 billion yen ($1.1 billion) government-backed credit line earlier this year.

Japan's transport ministry regulates JAL and could play a key role in which airline is chosen as JAL's partner.

(Reporting by Jui Chakravorty; Editing by Richard Chang)

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