JAL's turnaround is as much about government assistance as it is smart business. JAL may be pinching pennies, but its reinvention is also owed to massive government loans, debt waivers, tax breaks, and pension cuts for formerly loyal employees.
The yen-pinching culture shift at the country’s proud, once profligate national airline is contributing to one of the more dramatic turnarounds in global aviation history.
Less than three years ago, JAL filed for bankruptcy with $30 billion in debt, becoming one of Japan’s largest ever corporate failures. This September, JAL plans to relist its stock in an ambitious $6 billion-plus initial public offering, the year’s second-largest IPO behind Facebook, and making it the first company ever to return to the main board of Tokyo’s stock exchange after going through Japan’s version of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. JAL is adding long-haul flights to the U.S., with a strategy of avoiding the crowded coastal airports.