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Open Skies Accord Allows 2 Long-Haul Daytime Haneda-France Routes

Open Skies Accord Allows 2 Long-Haul Daytime Haneda-France Routes

Haneda Airport International Passenger Terminal

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On July 9, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) announced an agreement between Japan and France in talks to implement an "open skies" accord to liberalize air transport between the two countries. The agreement includes more landing slots at Haneda and Narita airports in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The agreement will affect routes to mainland France in addition to New Caledonia and Tahiti.

Each country will be allowed to add two flights serving Haneda Airport during the day (6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.) when the airport doubles its current 30,000 annual international landing slots to 60,000 in 2014. Daytime international flights at Haneda are currently limited to short-haul routes, but the accord will allow the airport to handle long-haul flights between Japan and France.

With Narita International Airport increasing its current annual landing slots to 270,000 from the current 220,000 in the summer of 2013, the open skies accord will also affect Kansai International Airport and Chubu International Airport immediately. Under the terms of the agreement, airlines will have a free hand to assign routes, flight volume and other details concerning routes between the two countries.

Thus far, Japan has signed open skies accords with Canada, Australia, as well as ASEAN members and other countries in East Asia and elsewhere. France is the 17th country--and 3rd in Europe after the U.K. and Finland--with whom Japan has forged an agreement that concerns Tokyo area airports.

Currently, according to the 2012 summer schedule, including cargo flights, five Japanese and French airlines operate 53 weekly flights between the two countries. Japan Airlines Co., Ltd. (JAL) has a daily direct flight to Paris from Haneda during the late-night/early morning hours.

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