Airlines and ANA clash again over Tokyo landing rights
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[February 14, 2014]
TOKYO (Reuters) — Japan Airlines
<9201.T> said it has applied to fly from Tokyo's Haneda airport to
Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam prompting a complaint from ANA Holdings,
which urged regulators to deny its local rival the right to open up
new routes from the world's fourth busiest hub.
The latest stand off threatens to re-ignite a dogfight for dominance
at the lucrative airport that in October saw ANA awarded 11 new
landing slots at Haneda, worth around $20 million a year each in
operating profit, compared with only five for JAL.
Regulators then said that it did not want to let JAL open new routes
because a state-led $3.5 billion bailout of the carrier in 2010,
that resulted in most of its debt being waived, gave it a
competitive edge over ANA. Such landing rights allocations are
usually split evenly.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government, which was in opposition when
JAL was rescued, proved sympathetic to ANA's call for a rebalance
through the landing right hand out.
"We hope the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau will make an appropriate
decision," ANA said in a statement following JAL's bid to start
flights to Vietnam.
Incensed by the slot allocation last year, which JAL said would cost
it 6 billion yen ($58.73 million) a year in lost operating profit,
the airline had considered taking unprecedented legal action to
overturn the decision.
Japan's aviation regulators, however, have never revised landing
right allocation and JAL instead is looking to tap late-night unused
slots in a bid to gain greater access to flights from Haneda.
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With no new runways or airports planned for Tokyo, ANA's advantage
over JAL at the Tokyo airport could be locked in for years.
ANA's president, Shinichiro Ito will speak at a press briefing in
Tokyo at 0630 GMT to unveil the carriers latest midterm business
plan. ($1 = 102.1650 Japanese yen)
(Reporting by Tim Kelly; editing by
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