February 1, 1998 in Nation/World

Japan Airlines Says ‘Open Skies’ Accord Favors U.S. Carriers

Associated Press

The revised U.S.-Japan aviation pact has riled Japan’s biggest airline, which said Saturday the deal favors American carriers and hurts Asian airlines already suffering from lagging demand.

“This agreement is a big disappointment,” said Japan Airlines President Akira Kondo. “The benefits to U.S. airlines far exceed any benefits for Japanese airlines.”

The airline also said the pact, which was sealed Friday in Washington, will hurt Asian air carriers at a time when demand for air travel is stagnating because of the region’s economic woes.

“It defies logic to give more slots to the U.S. when they already have a giant share,” the airline said in a statement. “This would amount to special treatment for U.S. carriers.”

The accord updates the 46-year-old “open skies” treaty that governs airline service between the United States and Japan.

The four-year deal grants United and Northwest airlines and Federal Express unlimited access to Japan and the right to fly to Japan from any U.S. city. Japan’s No. 2 carrier, All Nippon Airways, gained unrestricted rights to a number of U.S. destinations.

Japan Airlines, the country’s largest passenger carrier, already had unrestricted access to U.S. cities under the original agreement.

All Nippon officials welcomed the deal. Company president Kichisaburo Nomura said opening up the aviation industry was “in the national interest.”

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