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Nippon Cargo Airlines and United Parcel Service will start code-sharing operations between Japan and the United States and within North America on Aug. 1, executives of the two firms announced Tuesday.

It will be the first code-sharing operation between Japanese and American carriers in cargo or passenger services.

Code sharing became possible under a recent bilateral aviation agreement. Code sharing in passenger services starts this fall. “This agreement constitutes a significant step toward the creation of full-scale cooperation with Nippon Cargo Airlines,” said Ron G. Wallace, president of the international division of UPS. “Despite the current economic difficulties, UPS views the Asia-Pacific region as one of the major growth areas in the world. We see Japan as a key for our success in doing business in Asia.”

The agreement will cover 40 flights a week on eight routes. Two flights between Tokyo and Anchorage will be operated by NCA’s planes. The two cargo carriers currently cooperate through interline transport, in which the carriers consign cargo to each other on a certain route.

The agreement allows the two carriers to put cargo on each other’s aircraft, and NCA’s flights will bear both NCA and UPS flight numbers. “We could smoothly enter the code-sharing ties to complement each other,” said Toyoichiro Nakada, president of NCA. Through the operations “we will be able to increase transport capacity. And UPS can leave us to collect general cargo in the country and focus on its express service.”

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