06 December 2009

Japan continues to negotiate new air services arrangements with the USA

On 5 November 2009 the Japan Times carried a report from Bloomberg noting that a further round of air transportation negotiations will be held over three days in Washington DC this week.

On 4 November 2009 Aviation Week, quoting US State Department negotiator John Byerly, reported that it is possible that these talks may result in an "open skies" like agreement being initialled (see previous post).

The US is known to use the granting of anti-trust immunity as bait, making an "open skies" agreement a precondition for doing so.

Currently both Delta Air Lines (SkyTeam) and American Airlines (oneworld) are reported to be bidding to provide a much needed equity injection into Japan Airlines which is in financial difficulties after massive recent financial losses (see previous post). Seeking Alpha has a 13 November 2009 post providing some background.

In addition, new runway slots are becoming available at Narita and Haneda airports in the Tokyo area (see previous post). The US has previously tried to tie slot availability into its air services arrangements with Japan, while for its part Japan has considered that the US airlines already hold a disproportionate share of Tokyo airport slots.

If such an agreement is reached it would be a major step towards achieving APEC's 2010 Bogor Declaration goals with respect to trade in air transport services.

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