Jan 19, 2010

Tim Kelly on the Japan Airlines bankruptcy

Yet the biggest winner in JAL's collapse may be Japan's domestic travelers. The recession felled the biggest tree in the forest and is giving sapling discount carriers their first real chance to crack the comfortable JAL-ANA duopoly that has kept airfares high for decades. It can cost more to fly between Japanese cities than to fly from Japan to New York. That JAL couldn't survive even with a cushy home market is testament to the sloppy management of an airline stuck in an era of high-cost elegant travel that disappeared most everywhere else years ago. A myriad of militant pilot and cabin attendant unions ready to strike at any hint of cost cutting helped keep that air castle afloat.

~ Tim Kelly, "The Joy In JAL's Nightmare," Forbes.com, January 17, 2010

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