JAL group has 48,900 employees and the ailing airlines looking to axe more than 5,000 job to reduce cost.

JAL group has 48,900 employees and the ailing airlines looking to axe more than 5,000 job to reduce cost.

Japan Airlines Corp. may ax about 5,000 employees, or around 10 percent of its group workforce, by March 2012 through attrition and other steps, including encouraging early retirement, industry sources said.

The move would help the airline, which has been restructuring under government supervision, to reduce costs by more than ¥150 billion.

JAL has included the plan in its management improvement program the carrier hopes to compile and make public by the end of September in response to a request from the transport ministry to draw up a drastic restructuring program, the sources said.

The airline has begun consultations with lenders on its personnel reduction plan with the aim of securing additional funding from them by indicating it will implement large-scale corporate downsizing, the sources said.

The plan, however, is expected to meet objections from various quarters, particularly labor unions.

The JAL group had about 48,900 employees on a consolidated basis as of the end of April.

In addition to attrition and early retirement, JAL plans to encourage the use of its leave of absence system, in which employees can take time away from work without pay for such purposes as studying abroad, the sources said.

The struggling airline is also considering selling minor group companies or realigning them as a way to cut down on the number of total employees, they said.

In its management improvement program, JAL intends to mention its plan to scrap or reduce numerous international and domestic flights, on top of its announcement earlier this month that it will suspend or cut 10 international routes and reduce flights on six domestic routes.
MMC rehiring

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will hire around 650 seasonal workers for two domestic plants later this year following progress in production adjustments to address sluggish auto sales, company officials said Tuesday.

MMC has apparently decided to add workers because domestic auto sales have bottomed out thanks in part to government subsidies and tax breaks for environmentally friendly vehicles, industry watchers said.

The automaker will hire around 350 seasonal workers at its plant in Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture, in September and an additional 300 at another plant in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, in November, the officials said. –Kyodo News