• Kyodo News

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All Nippon Airways Co. said Wednesday it will promote its international flights as the “pillar” of its growth in fiscal 2010 by capitalizing on the “biggest business opportunity” to be created by the expansion of two core airports in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

But the plan calls for closing or cutting back on operations on unprofitable routes, including between Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture and Seoul’s Gimpo airport, to reduce costs and improve profitability.

Announcing its business plan for the year that begins April 1, ANA said it will start seven weekly round-trip flights between Narita airport and Munich on July 1 by taking advantage of an increase in landing and departure slots at the Chiba Prefecture airport from March 28.

The business plan represents a sharp contrast with rival Japan Airlines Corp.’s move to drastically scale down operations following its filing for court-led bankruptcy protection on Jan. 19.

ANA will also increase the number of flights between Narita and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to seven per week from the current five, effective March 28, and will fly more frequently between Narita and the Chinese cities of Shenyang and Hangzhou, starting the same day.

The airline is set to cash in on the Oct. 31 conversion of Haneda airport in Tokyo, long restricted to a largely domestic role, into a 24-hour hub for short and long-distance international flights to tap into demand in Asia.

Haneda expansion

Kyodo News

Construction of a fourth runway at Haneda airport in Tokyo entered a new phase Wednesday as a man-made island built for the new strip was connected to the existing airport island.

Part of the new island stands on pylons above the water instead of land fill because the traditional method would have altered the current from the nearby Tama River and affected the Tokyo Bay ecosystem.

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