Japan-China Open Skies Accord - Tokyo Airports Excluded but Haneda Flights to Double

Japan-China Open Skies Accord - Tokyo Airports Excluded but Haneda Flights to Double

The passenger terminal of Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport

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On August 8, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) announced that an "open skies" accord liberalizing air transport between Japan and China will be put into immediate effect.

The agreement allows airlines the freedom to establish routes between the two countries on their own. Four airports--Narita, Haneda, Beijing and Shanghai--are not included, but Japan and China will continue to consider subjects such as expanding airport capacity in the future.

More flights will be allowed on routes connecting Haneda Airport starting with the summer 2013 schedule. This will add daytime flights on a route to Shanghai (Pudong) and a new route to Guangzhou. Two daily flights will be allowed for airlines from each of the two countries on each route. If Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport adds international landing slots, then airlines will be allowed to switch flights on the Shanghai route from Pudong to there. More flights will also be permitted at Narita when it increases international landing slots from 30,000 to 60,000 (starting with the 2014 summer schedule at the earliest), including two flights each for Japanese and Chinese airlines on a route to Beijing. Meanwhile, Haneda will double the number of China routes it has now.

There are currently 750 commercial and cargo flights a week between Japan and China. In 2011 they carried 7,281,000 people. In terms of travel volume to and from Japan by country, China ranks third behind South Korea and the United States. China is also the 18th country/region with which Japan has signed an open skies accord.