Business Spotlight: Japan Airlines Part 2

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. burst / bɜrst / (n.) – the act of suddenly breaking open or falling into pieces

    The burst of the balloon was heard throughout the house.

  2. alliance / əˈlaɪ əns / (n.) – a group of people, organizations, countries, etc. joined together because they have similar goals

    Several organizations made an alliance to protect the local forests.

  3. world-class / ˈwɜrldˈklæs / (adj.) – among the best or the greatest in the world

    The prices are so high because it’s a world-class restaurant.

  4. bankruptcy / ˈbæŋk rʌpt si / (n.) – a state of financial failure in which a person, group, or company doesn’t have enough money to pay for his/her/its debts

    Everyone was shocked when the company filed for bankruptcy because it seemed to be doing well.

  5. future-proof / ˈfyu tʃər pruf / (v.) – to design or plan something so that it will keep on being useful or successful despite any situation that might happen in the future

    The board of directors had a meeting to future-proof the company.


Read the text below.

Continued from Part 1…

The burst of Japan’s bubble economy also hit JAL, and it started several low-cost airline subsidiaries, including JAL Express, to cut costs. Then, in 2002, it merged with longtime competitor Japan Air System.

JAL cemented its status as a world-class airline in 2007 when it joined the Oneworld airline alliance. However, following the 2008 financial crisis, it also had significant financial losses and filed for bankruptcy in 2010.

By 2012, Japan Airlines was in a better financial state and was able to relist on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. It made joint ventures with the likes of American Airlines and founded the low-cost airline Jetstar.

Following this, JAL continued to future-proof itself, introducing more international routes and entering Airbuses into service in the 2010s. The company had plans to begin another low-cost airline, Zipair, in 2020, but passenger flights have been put on hold due to the pandemic.

Unsurprisingly, this year Japan Airlines has reported a loss in profits. As it reaches its 70th birthday, we can wonder when it will take off again. (Jasmin Hayward)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • When JAL filed for bankruptcy in 2010, it was the country’s largest nonfinancial business failure ever, and the government provided a lot of money to help it. Do you agree that some businesses are “too big to fail,” and governments or banks must do anything possible to keep them in business? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Bankruptcy rules can vary from country to country, but in general, filing for bankruptcy can help people or companies eliminate a lot of or all of their debt. If you were in a lot of debt, would you ever consider filing for bankruptcy? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Despite JAL’s efforts to future-proof itself, it has still reported major losses due to the pandemic. Do you think it’s possible to fully future-proof any business? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • When future-proofing a business, what kind of situations or changes do you think businesses should prepare for (ex. possible future disasters, changes in technology)? Why? Discuss.