The transport ministry announced Wednesday it will allocate 11 arrival and departure slots for international flights, scheduled to be added to Haneda Airport in late March, to ANA Holdings Inc. and five to Japan Airlines.
ANA Holdings, which has All Nippon Airways under its umbrella, and JAL currently have the same number of slots for international flights at the airport. But ANA and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party have urged aviation authorities to correct unfairness in the industry caused by the government's bailout of JAL, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2010. This was apparently reflected in the ministry's decision on the slot allocation.
The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry plans to nearly double the annual number of daytime departures and arrivals of international flights at the airport to about 60,000 from the end of March. The number of slots will increase by an average of 40 a day, half of which will go to foreign airlines. The remaining 20 slots will be divided between ANA and JAL. The ministry first decided on the allocation of 16 of the 20 slots, excluding flights departing to and arriving from US destinations, due to a standstill in negotiations with the country.
ANA called on the ministry to fix the disparity between JAL and its rivals resulting from JAL's rehabilitation measures, including a nine-year exemption from corporate tax, insisting that it deserves more slots. JAL had argued that equal slot allocation is reasonable, considering that appropriate fares for customers could result from competition on certain routes.
When Haneda gained an additional 25 slot for domestic flights in late March this year, the ministry awarded eight to ANA and three to JAL, after a government expert panel looked into an operations grading system, which was used in deciding on slot allocation.