How much did Delta lose by not landing JAL?

There was a time, just a few years ago, when Delta was known as a powerhouse over the Atlantic — but not so much over that other big body of water.

But with the acquisition of Northwest, Delta became a much more powerful carrier to be reckoned with over the Pacific, as well.

Now comes word, however, that its bid to hook up with Japan Airlines failed, with bankrupt JAL staying in an alliance with American.

The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation called Tuesday’s news a “massive win” for Gerard Arpey, CEO of American’s parent company AMR Corp, Associated Press reported.

“American stood to lose more than Delta, which already has a significant presence at Narita Airport,” the Sydney-based aviation research group said in a report.

It expects Delta to strengthen its presence in Tokyo on its own and expand in other Asian markets through its ties with SkyTeam members Korean Air and China Southern Airlines, AP wrote.

Still, Delta fought hard to try to win JAL.

So, do you think Delta lost a lot by failing to land the deal? Why or why not?

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10 comments Add your comment


February 9th, 2010
10:00 am

Throwing $1 billion into the stinking money pit that is JAL would have been a massive blunder. Delta is much better off going at it alone, in coordination with its current SkyTeam partners in the region. AA has just added another problem to their current list of problems (Record fines from the feds, bitter labor negotiations, costs that are far above the rest of the industry, etc.)

Captain Jack

February 9th, 2010
10:15 am

I agree with Joe. Delta is better off without joining up with JAL and giving them a lot of cash. Better to buy some planes and expain on their own.

Matthias Beck

February 9th, 2010
10:19 am

Please get Gerard Arpey’s name spelled correctly in your story. You wouldn’t insult Delta’s CEO like that.

Henry Unger

February 9th, 2010
11:13 am

Thanks. Will correct spelling.

Ryan Walean

February 9th, 2010
12:29 pm

We know that Delta has partnerships with Korean Air and China Southern, shouldn’t they just stick with them? And maybe China Airlines of Taiwan?

And what about Osaka and Nagoya? These cities aren’t even discussed very much (if not at all) during the Open Skies and possible antitrust immunity negotiations! Tokyo’s quite overcrowded, maybe Delta should expand more into Osaka and Nagoya…


February 9th, 2010
2:15 pm

D E L T A is still a powerhouse over the Atlantic. Delta is the largest transatlantic carrier before and after the NWA merger. JAL should have picked the strongest combined alliance and eliminated a competitor.


February 9th, 2010
3:04 pm

Not much. But the consumer wins.

Delta Blows

February 9th, 2010
5:02 pm

Who cares? Delta and American are both miserable experiences. I wish that Atlanta would finally get a real airline, Southwest. We are the biggest metro in the country that SW doesn’t serve and all because of that dang airport. We hype it up calling it the busiest in the world but because we have one airport whereas every other city our size has two, we lose out on the BEST airline in the nation. Its a shame,

Delta...bad hand

February 9th, 2010
5:58 pm

I have to agree Delta truly does “blow” what is it with Atlantans anytime someone makes them “feel” slighted with uhm the “truth” they go bonkers! And whom might I ask coined this the “city to busy to hate”?????

Larry Taylor

February 10th, 2010
9:32 am

Japan Airlines has been failing for years due to the decline in their customer service experience and for safety concerns. Anyone who has flown on ANA, JAL’s main competitor in Japan sees the dramatic difference in Customer Service. The common phrase that most Japanese use to refer to Northwest was NorthWorst and now that Delta is taking over, most people I know who have flown Delta to Japan (as well as myself) regard that Delta is a significant step down in customer service from Northwest. So a link between the World Largest and in my opinion Worst airline, Delta and Japan Airlines would have been a disaster. American Airlines is a failure by the standards of Japanese Customer Service, but at least it does not have the derogatory moniker of NorthWorst that Delta purchased. JAL has a lot of work ahead of it and unless they match the customer service standards of ANA, Singapore and Korean, they just might not make it in the long term, so it might not matter who won this contest.