TOKYO Feb 14 Japan Airlines 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
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.
With no new runways or airports planned for Tokyo, ANA's
advantage over JAL at the Tokyo airport could be locked in for
ANA's president, Shinichiro Ito will speak at a press
briefing in Tokyo at 0630 GMT to unveil the carriers latest
midterm business plan.