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JAL and Malaysia Airlines receive go-ahead for 'joint venture'

Companies plan to coordinate fees and schedules from April 2020

State-owned Malaysia Airlines wants a partner to help turn around its struggling business following two plane crashes in 2014.

TOKYO -- Japan Airlines and Malaysia Airlines were granted regulatory approval by authorities in their home countries that allows them to share income and collaborate on flight operations, the two companies announced on Thursday.

They plan to begin joint operations from April 2020 for flights between Japan and Malaysia.

The carriers are calling their collaboration a "joint venture" -- specific wording in the aviation industry that lets partners share income, similar to being in a single company, as well as adjust flight and fare schedules.

Joint ventures also go beyond simple code-sharing operations. As such, they require antitrust approval from governments. JAL and Malaysia Airlines signed the appropriate agreements in May.

State-owned Malaysia Airlines has been looking for a partner to help turn around its business, and today's announcement has potential implications for its decision. JAL is one of the four finalists to help the beleaguered airline.

Malaysia Airlines was nationalized following two plane crashes in 2014. It has been struggling to generate profit amid competition with low-cost carriers like AirAsia, despite hiring new top management.

The two companies both belong to Oneworld alliance, and already operate some code-share flights.

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