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Two days of negotiations between airlines and the Narita Airport Authority over user charges ended in a stalemate Wednesday, with little hope left for any deals before the current five-year agreement expires April 18.

If the two sides fail to reach agreement before the deadline, the airlines will continue for the time being to pay the current 2,400 yen per ton.

The IATA Japan User Charges Board, which represents all of the 67 scheduled airlines that use Narita, has argued that the charge should be lowered to 1,950 yen.

The Narita Airport Authority has meanwhile insisted the current price should be maintained in this, the fifth, round of pricing talks since July, JUCB officials said.

Airline companies, which have suffered badly as a result of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S., have requested airport authorities all over the world to lower their user charges. Narita airport, whose charges are among the highest in the world, has been the subject of repeated requests from both Japanese and foreign airlines.

One major disagreement in the dispute is over land prices. The Narita Airport Authority argued that the market prices of land around the airport should be reflected in the user charges, while JUCB argued that land cost evaluation should be based only on actual costs, such as that for purchase, development, interests, taxes and maintenance of the land.

“Over the last two decades airlines have significantly reduced ticket prices, while Narita charges have remained the same,” said JUCB Chairman Peter Bysouth in a written statement released Thursday. Bysouth is also aviation charges manager at Australia’s Qantas Airways.

Yasuhiro Matsuzaki of the Narita Airport Authority’s business management section said its method for land prices is widely accepted in Japan for calculating facility rental costs, but he declined to comment further.

The JUCB meanwhile argued that its own method of land costs evaluation is an international standard used in airports in many countries around the world, and noted that the land price data used by Narita is 3 years old, despite continued land price falls since then.

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