China, Japan aim to boost air passengers by 20 pct, double cargo flights

Beijing (XFNews-ASIA) - Japan and China hope to forge an accord that would boost passenger flights between the two countries by 20 pct and double cargo volume, the Financial Times reported, citing industry sources.

Kazuo Kitagawa, Japan's transport minister, is meeting Yang Guoqing, vice-minister for the Civil Aviation Authority of China, in Beijing today to discuss the plan, the report said.  

Discussions between Beijing and Tokyo have been stymied since 2003 by political tensions between the two countries over visits by Japan's prime minister Junichiro Koizumi to the Yasukuni Shrine, which China views as a symbol of the country's past militarism.

China's inability to gain more landing slots for its carriers at Tokyo's Narita and Haneda airports has also been an obstacle to negotiations. Landing slots at both airports are filled to capacity and there are 37 countries on the current waiting list for Narita, the report cited industry sources as saying.  

Under the planned deal, the two sides would increase the passenger flight quota for weekly flights to 540 and boost the number of cities connecting the two countries. Japanese airlines currently fly between seven Japanese and 14 Chinese cities, the newspaper said.

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