UPDATE 1-Japan Airlines contests Haneda slot allocation

Fri Oct 4, 2013 4:54am EDT

* Government allocates five take-off and landing slots to JAL, 11 to ANA

* Decision could cost JAL 6 billion yen annually in operating profit -president

* JAL expects 2 of 4 remaining Haneda airport slots -president

TOKYO, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Japan Airlines on Friday asked regulators for a formal review of a government decision to award rival ANA Holdings more than half of new landing slots at Tokyo's bustling Haneda airport, saying it will crimp future earnings.

JAL received five landing and take-off slots at Tokyo International Airport compared with ANA's 11, after ANA argued a taxpayer-funded bailout has given JAL a competitive edge.

The decision, made this week, could cost JAL 6 billion yen ($61.67 million) a year in operating profit, said JAL President Yoshiharu Ueki, who called the allocation "skewed."

"We have asked regulators to explain whether they gave consideration to the convenience of travellers and the impact on airline alliances in making their decision," Ueki said at a press conference at the carrier's headquarters on Friday.

JAL recorded operating profit of 22 billion yen in the three months to June 30, whereas ANA recorded a loss of 5.6 billion yen.

The allocation gives ANA, Japan's largest carrier, the opportunity to ply new routes in Asia from the world's fourth-busiest hub.

It also gives Star Alliance, of which ANA is a member, 52 percent of daytime international flights from 47 percent. It lowers the share of Oneworld, of which JAL is a member, to 25 percent from just under 33 percent.

There are four unallocated slots - for U.S. destinations - of which JAL expects two, Ueki said.

ANA lobbied for a ruling in its favour, arguing that JAL's $3.5 billion bailout wiped out most of its debt and left it with tax credits that gave it the financial clout to beat ANA in any fare-price war.

JAL, once Asia's biggest carrier, countered that competition issues should be settled through means other than slot allocations which remain valid for as long as the holder stays in business.

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