- Japan Airlines
▪ Japanese airlineJapanese airline that is one of the largest air carriers in the world. The airline was founded in 1951. It was originally a private company but was reorganized in 1953 as a semigovernmental public corporation. The airline was again privatized in 1987. It is headquartered in Tokyo.Japan Air Lines was at first a domestic carrier, but it became an international airline in 1954, when it inaugurated flights to San Francisco. In the next 10 years it expanded its service to Southeast Asia, other cities in the United States, Europe, India, the Middle East, and Australia. In the late 1960s JAL began round-the-world service, and in 1970 it became the first non-Soviet airline to fly a regular route over Siberia. In the 1980s its route network was extended to cover several cities in China. JAL also has affiliates that operate hotels and that offer package tours. In 1987 the Japanese government decided to sell off its shares in JAL, thus releasing the airline from government control. In 2002 JAL merged with air carrier Japan Air System (JAS) to form Japan Airlines Group.
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