November 22, 2014 -Shares in Skymark Airlines soared 25.6 per cent on a report that the troubled Japanese carrier was in tie-up talks with Japan Airlines (JAL).

The Tokyo-listed stock skyrocketed ¥50 to at ¥245 (US$2) after the leading Nikkei business daily’s online edition said the firm was negotiating code-sharing with JAL on some routes. The deal would broaden Skymark’s sales channels, as it now mainly sell tickets through its website, the Nikkei said.

A spokeswoman for Skymark, Japan’s number-three airline declined to comment on the report. The news came as Skymark negotiates with Airbus to reduce a breach-of-contract penalty tied to the collapse of a US$2.2 billion jet order. Airbus had previously called on Skymark to merge with a bigger airline after the cancelled order, a proposal the Japanese firm’s top executive flatly rejected.

The Nikkei report said JAL was “unlikely” to inject capital into Skymark as part of any deal, but could benefit from the bigger airline’s strong relationship with Airbus. However, the report added that the transport ministry was reluctant to allow the reported deal with JAL, whose 2010 collapse was one of Japan’s worst-ever corporate failures and required a massive state bailout.

JAL’s management remains under the ministry’s supervision until early 2017 as part of its restructuring, with the government reviewing any fresh investments or acquisitions by the airline, the Nikkei said. The government was, instead, pushing for rival All Nippon Airways (ANA) to help Skymark, either on its own or together with JAL, according to the report.

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