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ANA mulls introducing Haneda-New York flights in October

JIJI

All Nippon Airways will consider launching direct flights linking Tokyo’s Haneda airport with eastern U.S. cities including New York from late October, airline President Osamu Shinobe said Friday.

ANA hopes to take advantage of new takeoff and landing slots between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. at the airport, to be introduced under an agreement between the Japanese and the U.S. governments at their civil aviation talks last month, Shinobe said in an interview.

Details of new routes are expected to be set next month after talks with United Airlines, a Star Alliance partner with ANA, he said.

Shinobe’s comments come as the schedule of annual slot allocations for winter, which take effect in late October, are finalized in May.

ANA may either maintain the current two round-trip flights per day between Narita International Airport, east of Tokyo, and New York, or temporarily halve this and add the daily Haneda-New York round trip, the president said.

He also discussed planned routes, to be established as early as 2018, that would link Honolulu with Narita and Haneda using the Airbus A380 superjumbo jets.

As costs per seat are falling, ANA is ready to set lower-priced fares for the routes, Shinobe added.

Some industry observers are concerned that it might be tough to ensure profitability on flights using A380 jets, whose list price is about ¥50 billion per unit. But Shinobe said that “costs per seat will decrease by some 10 percent.”

Shinobe also showed confidence that profits will be secured as the company will offer lower fares during the off-season period to stabilize seat-occupancy rates.