(Adds comment, background)
TOKYO Nov 21 Japan Airlines (JAL) said
on Friday that Skymark Airlines had sought talks to
discuss a possible business tie-up that would put one of the
country's few remaining budget carriers under the wing of a
"We received the request from Skymark Airlines on the
possible cooperation," a spokesman for JAL said.
"We will start to discuss some possible cooperation but at
the current stage, there is no decided agreement," he added.
Skymark would codeshare some flights with JAL and cooperate
in sales, the Nikkei newspaper reported, although it said the
tie-up was unlikely to involve a capital injection from JAL.
A spokeswoman for Skymark declined to discuss what
cooperation the two were discussing.
Skymark shares jumped 26 percent in trading in Tokyo
following the report, to end the day at 245 yen.
Difficulty for new budget carriers in winning landing rights
on lucrative routes has meant that air fares in Japan have not
been subject to the same tough price competition as in many
other major aviation markets.
Skymark, which began flying in 1998, had been a rare case of
a small carrier in Japan able to thrive without becoming an
affiliate of either JAL or Japan's other big carrier, ANA
Of the nine low-cost carriers flying within Japan, six -
including Peach Aviation, Jetstar Japan and Air Do - are
controlled by or affiliated with the two big carriers.
Stiff competition from the two big carriers on routes plied
by Skymark squeezed revenue, prompting European aircraft maker
Airbus in July to cancel the $2 billion sale of six
A380 superjumbos after the upstart discount airline struggled to
raise cash to pay instalments.
At the time, Skymark said Airbus had offered to deliver the
aircraft if the airline agreed to become an affiliate of a
(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Edmund