CANBERRA, Sept 30 Australia and Japan have
signed an open skies aviation agreement that will allow
Australian carriers fly into smaller Japanese airports, just as
flag carrier Qantas looks to set up a low-cost airline
partnership in Japan.
The deal allows unlimited flights between the two countries,
including to Tokyo's Haneda airport, and lifts capacity
restrictions at Tokyo's larger Narita Airport from 2013,
Australia's Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said on Friday.
"It also makes it possible for Australian airlines to fly
beyond Japan to third countries for the first time, including
key markets such as China and Europe," Albanese said.
Qantas, Japan Airlines and Mitsubishi
have announced plans to launch a new domestic airline -- Jetstar
Japan -- as part of the Australia's carrier's wide-ranging
overhaul to improve profitability.
More than one million people fly between Australia and Japan
each year and passenger numbers are forecast to grow by 25
percent by 2020, Albanese said.
Japan signed an open skies accord with the United States in
October last year as part of a government push to liberalize
aviation markets, with Haneda unveiling a new international
terminal to help meet demand.
Australia's Jetstar, a low-cost Qantas subsidiary, was the
first no-frills carrier to begin services in Japan, flying into
Kansai International Airport in 2008.
Jetstar Japan, in which Qantas, JAL and Mitsubishi would
each hold one-third share, will launch with an initial fleet of
three new Airbus A320 aircraft.
(Reporting by Rob Taylor; Editing by Balazs Koranyii)