BA-Japan Airlines deal cleared

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British Airways-owner IAG said its joint business with Japan Airlines had received competition clearance, allowing the pair to cooperate commercially on flights between Europe and Japan.

IAG, formed by the merger of BA and Iberia, on Friday said the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) had formally approved Japan Airlines' application seeking anti-trust immunity to co-operate on flights with British Airways (BA).

“BA has been flying to Japan for more than 60 years and this new agreement will strengthen our ties to the world's third largest economy and further enhance our relationship with JAL,” said IAG's Chief Executive Willie Walsh.

IAG said the joint business would launch in March 2013 and that the revenue-sharing agreement would strengthen its oneworld alliance.

BA and AMR Corp's American Airlines have a similar agreement where the pair share revenues and coordinate flight schedules.

The deal provides a boost to IAG at a time when airlines are suffering because of continuing high fuel prices and the euro zone debt crisis.

Earlier this month IAG said first quarter losses more than doubled as higher fuel costs and weakness in Spain undermined strength in premium long-haul travel out of London.

Shares in IAG, which have fallen 10 percent in the last three months, were up 1.9 percent at 146.7 pence by 10:40 SA time, valuing the company at around 2.6 billion pounds. - Reuters