Japan Airlines Co could be a contender to buy a stake in Malaysia Airlines Bhd, the Edge weekly newspaper reported.
There have been high-level talks for Japan Airlines (JAL) to pursue an interest in the Malaysian national carrier amid close ties between the two governments, the Edge said, citing two unidentified people familiar with the matter.
Japan Airlines president Yuji Akasaka said in June that it was too early to say whether the carrier would consider an investment in Malaysia Airlines although further talks were possible, according to the Edge.
Calls to representatives of Japan Airlines and its office were unanswered outside of business hours.
Khazanah Nasional Bhd, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund and the sole shareholder of the flag carrier, has hired Morgan Stanley to look at strategic options for Malaysia Airlines.
A stake sale is one of them.
Khazanah’s corporate communications department also could not be reached for comment on the Edge article outside of working hours.
Malaysia has been seeking more deals with Japan ranging from bond issuance to asset sales.
Khazanah sold a 16 percent stake in IHH Healthcare Bhd to Mitsui & Co for US$2 billion last year, while Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad wants the nation to proceed with plans to issue yen bonds by the end of this year.
In related developments, the US government is fining JAL US$300,000 for delays that trapped passengers on two grounded planes for hours.
Under an agreement with the US Department of Transportation, the airline gets credit for US$60,000 spent compensating passengers, and US$120,000 will be waived if the airline avoids similar incidents for one year.
The department says that after bad weather forced a Jan. 4 flight from Tokyo to New York to land in Chicago, airline staff needed to help passengers off the plane did not show up for more than four hours.
On May 15, a Tokyo-New York flight diverted to Dulles Airport near Washington, where passengers were stuck on board for five hours because of refueling and crew members reaching the end of their shift.
The airline blamed the delays on weather-related airport congestion.
Additional reporting by AP
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