Japan-U.K. Agree Haneda Daytime Flights and to include Narita in Open Skies Accord

Japan-U.K. Agree Haneda Daytime Flights and to include Narita in Open Skies Accord

View of Haneda Airport Terminals from the control tower.

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On January 24, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) announced that during bilateral talks, Japan and the United Kingdom have agreed to an open skies accord for the liberalization of air transport between the two countries. The accord will come into effect in 2013, permitting more landing slots at Haneda and Narita airports in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

The accord permits the operation of daytime-only flights (6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.) for each country when Haneda Airport's international landing slots will double from 30,000 a year to 60,000. Daytime flights on international routes serving Haneda are currently limited to short-haul routes, but the accord will introduce long-haul routes. The accord also abolishes restrictions on landing slots during the late-night and early morning hours starting in the summer of 2013, so long as they fit within the 30,000 landing slot limit for international routes.

The agreement also adds Narita International Airport to Japanese airports covered by the accord, which will be applied to the airport in summer 2013, when it increases its number of annual landing slots from the current 220,000 to 270,000. At the same time, the accord will also liberalize so-called "beyond rights" for air transport linking to airports outside the Tokyo area.

The accord will allow airlines the freedom to assign routes and flight volume between Japan and the U.K. as they see fit. The U.K. is the thirteenth country (and the first in Europe) to sign an open skies accord with Japan, following others such as countries in East Asia, ASEAN members, the United States, Canada and Australia.