Japan and Singapore Conclude Open Skies Pact - Entry of New LCCs Expected

Japan and Singapore Conclude Open Skies Pact - Entry of New LCCs Expected

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-400.

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On January 20, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) announced that during aviation talks, Japan and Singapore have agreed to an "Open Skies" pact that will come into effect in 2013, allowing airlines from both countries the freedom to assign routes and flight volume between them.

The aviation liberalization talks have proceeded according to the New Growth Strategy adopted under a cabinet decision last year to negotiate Open Skies agreements with other countries and the talks with Singapore led to the first agreement concluded with an ASEAN member state.

Under the agreement, the Open Skies policy will come into effect in 2013 and include the Tokyo metropolitan area's airports. That summer, Narita Airport will expand its number of landing slots. The airport will also gradually expand flight volume prior to summer 2013 and allow for more air transport provided by new airlines including low-cost carriers (LCCs).

With regards to airports outside the Tokyo area, flights to either country traveling on to third countries will also be liberalized―not strictly just air travel between Japan and Singapore. The agreement will also allow for flexibility in flight operations such as changing aircraft in third countries. The MLIT expects that the pact will result in Kansai International, Chubu International and other airports becoming cargo hubs.