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Japan and Canada Reach Open Skies Accord - Unused Haneda Landing Slots to Remain

Japan and Canada Reach Open Skies Accord - Unused Haneda Landing Slots to Remain

Haneda Airport towers

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On September 16, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) announced that Japan and Canada have agreed at talks to reach an "open skies" accord for the complete liberalization of aviation between the two countries, to expand the number of landing slots in the Tokyo metropolitan area and other matters.

In 2009, Japan and Canada agreed to liberalize destination cities, routes and flight volume for air service between the two countries, with the exception of routes connecting to Haneda and Narita, the two Tokyo metropolitan area airports. Airlines have unlimited freedom to serve major Canadian cities by operating direct flights to and from Japanese airports other than those in the Tokyo area.

Under the most recent agreement, "open skies" will be implemented as flights serving Narita are added in the summer of 2012 and landing slots at the airport are raised to 270,000 in the summer of 2013. Liberalization of "beyond rights" (which allow airlines to transport passengers and cargo from one country, land in a second country and pick up additional passengers and cargo, then transport them to a third country) will be granted at Japanese airports other than those in the Tokyo area.

The landing slots for one daily round-trip per country currently allowed in the late-night and early morning hours at Haneda Airport as per a prior agreement will be kept as they are. Air Canada had planned to use the slots to start direct flights on a route to Vancouver in March of this year, but had to postpone its plans, leaving the route unused at present.

Two Japanese and Canadian airlines operate 24 weekly flights between the two countries (as of the summer 2011 schedule), carrying 6.09 million passengers in 2010.

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