Japan, EU to negotiate airliner safety pact


Japan and the European Union are preparing to start discussing an air safety pact that would make it easier to export and import planes, including the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, sources said Monday.

The two sides have already held preparatory consultations on the agreement, which would mean safety certificates valid in the EU are recognized in Japan, and vice versa.

The European Commission asked EU member countries to authorize its executive branch to negotiate such a pact with Japan.

A meeting of experts on Friday saw EU members approving the launch of negotiations, sources said. The agreement is expected to be finalized soon by ministers.

Under air safety agreements, nations mutually approve procedures on aircraft safety, making it unnecessary to secure further approval in the partner countries.

Such a pact with Japan would help the MRJ, but it would also benefit the EU, which wants to boost sales in Japan of European passenger jets such as those made by Airbus SAS.

Meanwhile, the EU is also set to give the green light to negotiations on an aircraft safety pact with China.

A Chinese aircraft manufacturer has already started deliveries of its ARJ21, a competitor to the MRJ. Deliveries of the MRJ, Japan’s first small passenger jet, are still some time off.