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Some 140 former Japan Airlines Corp. pilots and cabin attendants plan to file a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court on Jan. 19, seeking to nullify the carrier’s decision to dismiss them as part of its rehabilitation efforts, sources said Saturday.

The 140 plaintiffs are among the 165 pilots and cabin attendants JAL dismissed as of Dec. 31 after its voluntary retirement program failed to meet a job reduction target, they said.

JAL filed for bankruptcy protection with the court under the corporate rehabilitation law in January last year.

In court, lawyers for the 140 will question the necessity of the dismissals and the reasonableness of the criteria by which JAL chose the plaintiffs, while questioning whether the carrier made adequate efforts to avoid dismissing them.

JAL, which has pursued its restructuring program including air route cuts, has barred some pilots and cabin attendants from working since last October, while encouraging them to apply for the retirement program.

JAL labor unions have complained that there is no rationale for dismissing the employees now that the airline’s financial performance is improving, as indicated by it booking a larger-than-expected profit.

The airline’s rehabilitation plan calls for shedding 16,000 jobs by the end of March, or around 30 percent of its group workforce. But only 1,470 employees have applied for the voluntary retirement program so far.

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