TOKYO - Japanese airline All Nippon Airways is considering taking over the international routes of struggling rival Japan Airlines Corp, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said on Friday.
All Nippon is looking to increase its overseas flights by targeting profitable routes to Europe and the United States and has told Japan's government of its interest, the Yomiuri said, citing unidentified sources.
JAL, whose shares hit a record low this week on expectations that it was headed for bankruptcy under a state restructuring plan, has been burdened by unprofitable domestic and international routes.
JAL has already said it will terminate flights on 30 routes, including 13 international, by June.
All Nippon competes with JAL on more than 30 of All Nippon's 40 international routes, the paper said.
We want to increase flights to Europe and the United States, the Yomiuri quoted an All Nippon executive as saying.
We will need to consolidate routes in Asia where there is an overlap.
No one was available for comment at either airline. Offices and markets were closed on Friday for the New Year holiday.
Several cabinet ministers have asked JAL to completely withdraw from overseas flights and hand the business over to All Nippon, the Mainichi Shimbum said on Thursday.
But Transport Minister Seiji Maehara has been opposed to having only one Japanese airline offer international service, the Mainichi said.
JAL has applied for a bailout from a state-backed organization of turnaround specialists, which will decide whether to support the airline this month.
The Development Bank of Japan has agreed to increase the amount of its unsecured loans to the airline, Japanese media also reported on Thursday.
(Reporting by David Dolan)