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Japan's ANA joins bid to rescue bankrupt Skymark Airlines

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Japan's All Nippon Airways on Monday announced plans to help turn around bankrupt Skymark Airlines, reportedly joining a string of other firms offering a lifeline to the struggling carrier.

[TOKYO] Japan's All Nippon Airways on Monday announced plans to help turn around bankrupt Skymark Airlines, reportedly joining a string of other firms offering a lifeline to the struggling carrier.

Skymark, Japan's third-largest airline, filed for bankruptcy protection in late January in the face of potentially massive penalties over a cancelled $2.2 billion jet order with Airbus.

"This morning, we submitted documents to show our intension to participate in the sponsorship (of Skymark), but we can't comment further now," said a spokeswoman for ANA Holdings, the airline's parent company.

Japanese media reported the rescue plan would include code-sharing and joint procurement of fuel, while Kyodo News agency said Tokyo-based investment fund Integral has decided to extend a 9.0 billion yen (US$76 million) loan to Skymark.

Some 20 other firms have so far applied to back Skymark's rehabilitation, including leasing firm Orix and major travel agency H.I.S., Kyodo said.

Skymark plans to draw up its final list of sponsors this month and will present its rehabilitation plan to Tokyo District Court by May 29, it added.

Skymark confirmed last month that it was in talks with ANA and Japan Airlines about code-sharing - when airlines jointly operate a flight route - as well as with domestic and overseas funds over a possible investment deal.

Shares in Skymark fell 5.12 per cent to 37.0 yen in afternoon trade. The stock, which has fluctuated wildly since the bankruptcy announcement, is being delisted from the Tokyo exchange next week.

Skymark's efforts to turn itself around failed as it struggled against tough competition in the sector, while its woes deepened after the deal with Airbus collapsed in the summer.

AFP