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Transport minister Chikage Ogi on Friday unveiled a package of comprehensive measures aimed at supporting the troubled airline industry.

The move will pave the way for the governmental Development Bank of Japan to provide emergency loans to major airlines hit by the effects of severe acute respiratory syndrome.

According to the measures unveiled by the land, infrastructure and transport minister at a news conference, airlines will be instructed to cut costs and strengthen their management bases.

The ministry will also seek to improve the business environment for airlines, including reviewing tax systems.

The emergency loans are expected to be extended to the airlines shortly, with Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa having voiced support for the provision of loans based on management rationalization.

Japan Airlines System Corp. and All Nippon Airways Co. expect their revenues to decline by more than 200 billion yen in fiscal 2003.

The carriers have requested 180 billion yen in loans.

The total amount to be loaned is being finalized, according to government sources.

The Development Bank of Japan supplied airlines with loans totaling 240 billion yen following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.

An official at the Scheduled Airlines Association of Japan said the measures “are to be praised extremely highly, and we will promote further management rationalization.”