International Airlines Group has not ruled out taking a stake in Japan Airlines as the Asian carrier considers re-listing on the Tokyo stock exchange later this year.
Plans for a new joint business between Oneworld alliance partners British Airways and JAL on flights between Europe and Japan were agreed last month.
Local reports suggest that JAL, which de-listed in 2010 after it was forced to file for bankruptcy protection, will seek to raise at least £3.8 billion through an initial public offering.
IAG said: “JAL has done a great job in restructuring its business. IAG would look closely at investing in JAL and wouldn’t rule it out at this stage.”
Other members of Oneworld are also thought to be considering taking a stake in JAL.
Announcing the joint business plan in February, IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said: “We have very close links with JAL and look forward to enhancing that relationship further.
“Despite the difficulties the Japanese aviation market has faced in recent years, we have great confidence in JAL’s business outlook and the overall market’s future prospects.”
JAL president and chairman-elect Masaru Onishi said at the time: “JAL is looking forward to the potential customer benefits we foresee from the synergies with British Airways.
“Just as our customers travelling over the Pacific have gained from the joint business between JAL and American Airlines which began last April, we expect the closer relationship with British Airways to also provide the travelling public between Europe and Japan with greater convenience and options.”