Japan Airlines files for bankruptcy

Japan Airlines Corp filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday owing more than $25 billion and vowed to slash 15,700 jobs and unprofitable routes as part of a plan to survive an industry beset by volatile fuel costs and fickle flyers.

JAL, Asia’s largest airline by revenues, will remain in the skies thanks to almost 1 trillion yen ($11 billion) in support from a state-backed fund, but must go through a sweeping restructuring under a new board and management.

Shareholders will be wiped out and lenders will forgive a larger-than-expected 730 billion yen in debt as part of the deal with the fund, the Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp of Japan (ETIC).

Bankruptcy will only be the beginning for an airline with depleted capital, facing headwinds such as rising fuel prices and shrinking passenger numbers, on top of hefty restructuring costs.

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