“Japan Airlines Bankrupt” was the headline news today as JAL entered the Japanese version of the US Chapter 11 Bankruptcy procedure. Its stock price for the entire company is now worth about $150 million, less than the price of a single Jumbo Jet plane.
By voluntarily entering bankruptcy JAL is hoping to quickly reorganize its affairs and establish a new Company that can be profitable again. Many jobs are expected to be lost and shareholders will be the big financial losers. Flights are expected to continue operation normally, with the point of a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy being to allow a Company to work its way out of trouble rather than shut it down. Taxpayers can expect to be footing the bill for getting the Company back on track.
It is likely that the parts will be broken up with profitable ones remaining and non-profitable ones jettisoned.
What will happen to mileage programs and other benefits is uncertain, but I am glad I went for my mileage lunch the other day.
I have been a member of JAL’s mileage program since 1995 and have enjoyed flying on it many times. Recently, stewards and stewardesses were more likely to be from foreign countries rather than Japan Nationals. The service level seemed to have dropped, probably due to a lack of adequate training, and it was often difficult to find someone to talk Japanese. Instead of name plates like “Suzuki”, “Kato” and “Tanaka”, I was seeing names like “Pepsi”, “Golf” and “Earth”. (Those names were not made up, by the way ^^).
Here is hoping JAL makes a quick recovery and can gain the trust of the Japanese public again for the future.
In the news today, McDonalds Japan announced that they had made record sales on January 17, 2010 of YEN 2,811,800,000 (approx USD 28 million). In particular, the Texas Burger that began sales four days ago has been served up 4,130,000 times already helping to boost sales in total.
At this rate the Japanese people could eat enough burgers in a week to pay for the bankrupt Japan Airlines Company. Of course, all you will probably be left with is the wrapper ^_^.
What memories do you have of traveling with JAL? Are they good ones or bad?