Japan, U.S. sign Open Skies pact - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Japan, U.S. sign Open Skies pact

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

TOKYO and HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Airlines flying between Hawaii and Japan will be able to coordinate flights as a result of an agreement by the U.S. and Japanese governments.

U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos and Japan Transport Minister Sumio Mabuchi signed the agreement Monday in Tokyo.

The "Open Skies" agreement removes some bureaucratic impediments to coordination of flight schedules by airlines that are already members of the same air alliance.

Japan Airlines belongs to the One World Alliance whose flagship is American Airlines, while All-Nippon Airways is a member of the Star Alliance whose flagship is United Airlines.

The Open Skies agreement makes it easier for alliance partners to decide that one carrier will serve a particular corridor and the other will sell code share tickets on that service.

The agreement is expected to take effect in mid-November, the Kyodo news agency said.

That would put the agreement in force just as Hawaiian Airlines launches its daily service between Honolulu and Tokyo Haneda. Its flights begin Nov. 17.

Japan Airlines and All-Nippon Airways, which currently run all their Hawaii service from Tokyo Narita, will each begin daily service from Haneda soon, so there will be, counting the Hawaiian Airlines flight, three daily flights from there to Honolulu.

Unlike Narita, which primarily an international hub and more than an hour's bus ride or train ride from downtown Tokyo, Haneda is itself close to Tokyo's city center, and functions mostly as a domestic hub.

One obstacle to Hawaii tourism had been that Japanese vacationers who don't live in Tokyo, Osaka or Nagoya would have to catch a domestic flight to Haneda, then spend part of a day getting from Haneda to Narita to catch a flight to Hawaii. Now they will be able to transfer between two flights at the same airport.

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