Japan Airlines Co. and All Nippon Airways Co. filed applications with the Transport Ministry this week to drastically discount air fares from the United States to Japan to counter fare cuts by American carriers, spokesmen for the two Japanese carriers said Friday.

JAL’s proposed fare cuts cover round-trip flights from 32 U.S. cities to eight cities in Japan at rates up to 50 percent less than ordinary fares, the JAL spokesman said. Discounts vary depending on flights and time schedules.

Discount tickets must be purchased two weeks in advance, with passengers leaving the U.S. between May 22 and July 25 and returning by the end of July. A round-trip, weekday flight from Chicago to Tokyo will cost $875, compared with the usual price of $1,300 in June and $1,600 in July.

However, the spokesman added that tickets will be limited, because they must be purchased in the U.S. by independent travelers, not for package tours. About 70 percent to 80 percent of JAL tickets are sold in Japan, while the remaining tickets are sold through JAL’s international branches.

“We have no choice but to offer the discount rates to compete against the American carriers since they started offering drastically discounted rates,” the spokesman said.

All Nippon Airways Co. filed an application at the ministry on Friday for discount fares up to 42 percent less than ordinary rates for round-trip flights originating in the U.S., the ANA spokesman said.

The discount fares proposed by ANA will be applied to flights from six cities in the U.S. to Tokyo and five Japanese cities via Tokyo. Passengers are required to purchase tickets by May 22 and depart from and return to the U.S. between May 11 and July 31.

Under ANA’s discounts, a round-trip flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo on weekends costs $725, 42 percent lower than the ordinary fare of $1,250. For a weekday flight on the same route, the discount rate is $675, compared with the ordinary fare of $1,150.

Recently four American carriers — Northwest Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines — announced similar discount fares for flights between the U.S. and Japan.

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