June 19, 2020 / 8:49 AM / 22 days ago

Japan Airlines to raise up to $4.7 billion to weather coronavirus slump

A Japan Airlines monitor shows the lobby is closed at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport after all direct flights between Japan and Hawaii were suspended due to the business downturn caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S., April 28, 2020. Picture taken April 28, 2020. REUTERS/Marco Garcia

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan Airlines Co (JAL) plans to raise as much as 500 billion yen ($4.7 billion) to bolster its finances amid a slump in air travel demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak, the company’s president told shareholders on Friday.

Yuji Akasaka told attendees at the company’s annual shareholder meeting that JAL has already raised around 200 billion yen from lenders, a spokesman for the airline said.

JAL and local rival ANA Holdings, which has asked lenders for 400 billion yen, have been forced to ground many of their aircraft since bookings collapsed.

Japan’s government has said it would provide financial help as part of an economic stimulus package to help the carriers weather a downturn, which the Scheduled Airlines Association of Japan estimates could cost its members as much as 2 trillion yen in lost revenue over the next year.

Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Aditya Soni

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