• Kyodo News

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Trading house Marubeni Corp. and travel agency JTB Corp. will strengthen their alliance in the overseas travel business, with JTB boosting the number of package tours to Europe using Marubeni-operated charter flights, company officials said Monday.

Marubeni unit Marubeni Aerospace Corp. is planning to operate more than 10 charter flights to Italy next summer using an Italian airline and JTB will sell package tours using such flights, they said.

The move comes at a time when Japan Airlines Corp. is cutting international flights as part of its restructuring efforts after filing for bankruptcy protection in January.

The market for overseas package tours using charter flights is small in Japan compared with the U.S. and Europe, but Marubeni thinks there is room to develop the market.

Marubeni and JTB plan to increase the number of tours using regional airports, in addition to Narita International Airport.

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