Delta: teaming up with 3rd party for JAL an option

An employee of Japan Airlines walks past its self-ticketing machines at Haneda airport in Tokyo November 13, 2009. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

TOKYO (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines said on Thursday that teaming up with a third party to support struggling Japan Airlines Corp, which is seeking a state bailout, was one option.

Delta Airlines President Edward Bastian also told reporters in Tokyo that Delta and its SkyTeam partners would be happy to offer more than the previously announced $1 billion of financial support for JAL by teaming up with a third-party investor such as a private equity fund or venture capital firm.

“We are putting our capital at risk, not someone else’s capital ... I think that’s important. However, if the (Japanese) government asks us to go back and raise more capital, we are happy to do so,” Bastian told Reuters on the sidelines of the news conference.

Bastian said, however, that the airline has not received such a request at this moment.

Delta said on November 18 that SkyTeam member carriers were ready to offer $1 billion, including a $500 million equity investment, in return for JAL defecting from the Oneworld alliance and its partnership with American Airlines.

Reporting by Mariko Katsumura; Editing by Chris Gallagher