Asia's largest airline is US rivals' target

DELTA Air Lines and American Airlines, the world&rsquo;s two largest carriers, are said to be considering making rival bids for a stake in Japan Airlines (JAL). <br /><br />Asia&rsquo;s largest airline by revenue recently posted quarterly losses of 99bn yen (&pound;654m), and is 721bn yen in debt.<br /><br />Despite cutting jobs and unprofitable routes, JAL is still in need of further financial investment. It received its third government bailout in eight years as recently as June, and is due to present an outline of its business improvement plan later this month to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.<br /><br />Discussions have not yet been made public, but American Airlines and JAL are understood to be talking about a joint venture. Both companies are currently members of the Oneworld alliance.<br /><br />Delta is thought to have proposed a rival investment of around $300m (&pound;180m) in a deal which would make&nbsp; it the largest shareholder in the Japanese company. The deal would also see a Delta executive placed on JAL&rsquo;s board, and an agreement for code-sharing on some international routes.&nbsp; <br /><br />JAL would also withdraw from the Oneworld alliance and join Delta&rsquo;s SkyTeam, which also includes Air France-KLM.<br /><br />Any investment would boost confidence in the struggling Asian carrier&rsquo;s chances of survival, with banks currently reluctant to lend more money.