Japan/US signs landmark Open Skies deal

Japan and US has concluded an open skies deal, followed by the latest talk this week, which ended on Friday 10DEC09. The highlights of the deal includes (based on various Japanese media reports) :

*Unlimited flights, destinations for carriers from both sides between US and Japan, except Tokyo market.
*Unlimited operating carriers from each side
*ATI (anti-trust immunity) inclusion
*4 Daily service between US and Japan for carriers from EACH side
*US carriers’ slot shares at Tokyo Narita to lower from 28% to 25% once the airport slots increases from March 2010, equivalent of 8 weekly round-trip reduction.  The share percentage will be further reduced. (成田国際空港での米国航空企業のスロットのシェアを来年3月の増枠予定時に現行の28%から25%程度に低下させ、その後もシェアの低下を目指す–など。)
*Due to slots issues at Tokyo Haneda and Narita, slots issuance for these two airports remains to be Government controlled
*Removal of restrictions of 5th freedom rights beyond each country (but approval from 3rd country remains required)

Both sides extended the talk by one extra day on Friday 10DEC09 due to an impasse regarding slots at both Tokyo airports, which has been an major setback for both parties for the past 4 talks in 2009. This week is the 5th talks for the year.

There will be approximately 40 International services at Tokyo Haneda starting Oct 2010, which half of these flights are operated by foreign carriers. Of these flights, 20 flights to be operated by Japanese carriers, 2 each for Korea, Singapore and Germany; 1 each for 6 countries including Canada and France. However, all flights can only operate between 2200 (or 2300) and 0700 LT, with exceptions to selected destinations in Asia, which allows daytime operation.

Anti-trust immunity is possible for the first time between the two countries. ANA has been studying intensified cooperation with Star Alliance partners UNITED and Continental which includes ATI. Application could be issued as early as this month and in effect from Oct 2010 if approved. On the other hand, the near-collapsing JAL is still undecided on its future alliance/partnership as both DELTA and American expressed interest to create/deepen the partnership, also includes ATI.  It allows multiple carriers to coordinate their schedules, pricing, and marketing.  In short, multiple carriers operating as a single airline if approved.

It should also be noted that this is the First full-scale open-skies deal for Japan with another foreign country. It has been pushing for a “smaller-scale” deal with other countries called “Asian Gateway” in the past due to slots issue at Tokyo airports. The “Asian Gateway” basically is an open-skies deal minus Tokyo.

From March 2010, annual slots at Tokyo Narita is to expand from 200,000 to 300,000. Tokyo Haneda from October 2010 sees increase of annual slots from 303,000 to 407,000.