Japan Airlines Is Considering Cutting Up to 3,000 Jobs

Japan Airlines said on Wednesday it was considering reducing its group work force by some 6%, or around 3,000 employees, over the next three business years to help turn around its struggling operations.

JAL, which posted a net loss of 47 billion yen ($390 million) in the year ended in March 2006, has been hurt by high fuel prices and safety mishaps that prompted flyers to choose rival All Nippon Airways instead.

Shares in JAL, Asia's biggest airline by revenue but ranked sixth by market value, rose after the Mainichi daily reported on the move, which it said would be included in the carrier's new midterm business plan in February.

The Mainichi said JAL would cut more than 1,000 employees in the business year starting in April through an early retirement scheme and up to 3,000 jobs over the next two to three years.

The midterm business plan will include further restructuring of its group companies with possible sales of around 15 firms, including trading house Jalux, the paper said.

JAL has forecast a net profit of 3 billion yen in the current business year ending in March, but it is relying on one-off gains to achieve that target. The company had said it expected a profit boost of more than 25 billion yen from an overhaul of its pension system this business year.