Delta Air Lines is offering a lifeline to Japan's bankrupt Skymark Airlines that would give the US carrier unprecedented access to domestic landing slots at Tokyo's Haneda airport, a report says.
The Nikkei business daily said on Tuesday (local time) Delta has agreed to join a turnaround plan being led by Skymark creditor Intrepid Aviation, which would see the US company buy as much as 20 percent of the Japanese airline for an unspecified price.
The plan is a rival offer to one submitted by Skymark earlier this year that would see it owned by its banks, All Nippon Airways and a domestic investment fund.
A Skymark spokeswoman in Tokyo said the company was unaware of the new plan.
If the Delta deal is successful, the US carrier would be the first foreign airline to get access to slots for domestic flights at the downtown airport. The coveted slots are currently limited to Japanese carriers, including ANA and Japan Airlines as well as Skymark.
Skymark's roughly 200 creditors will vote on the competing proposals at an August 5 meeting, the Nikkei said.
Skymark, Japan's third-biggest airline which flies on domestic routes, filed for bankruptcy protection in late January in the face of potentially massive penalties linked to a cancelled US$2.2 billion jet order with Airbus.
The still-operating airline's efforts to turn itself around failed as it struggled against tough competition in the sector, while its troubles deepened after the deal with Airbus collapsed last northern summer.