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JAL miffed over slots at Haneda

Kyodo

Japan Airlines Co. has asked the transport ministry to reconsider new slot allocations at Haneda airport in Tokyo after the carrier, which had to be bailed out of bankruptcy with public funds, received fewer departure and arrival slots than archrival All Nippon Airways Co.

Unfairness in slot allocations will “hinder competition” among not only domestic carriers but global airlines as well, and will result in “narrowing the range of choices for customers,” JAL President Yoshiharu Ueki said at a news conference Friday in Tokyo.

JAL, which received a ¥350 billion injection of taxpayers’ money and other state support to get back on its feet, submitted a letter the same day to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, asking for an explanation of the decision-making process and disclosure of relevant documents.

The ministry recently decided to award 11 new international departure and arrival slots to ANA and only five to JAL from next March. ANA had argued it would be unfair for JAL to receive the same number of slots, as it has benefited from government policies to turn its business around.

Ueki said JAL will wait for the ministry’s response, but added it will “need to think about its next step” if it doesn’t get a satisfactory explanation. He declined to comment on whether the carrier is considering a legal challenge.