Australia's Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese announced (30-Sep-2011) Australian and Japanese airlines will now be able to offer direct flights between Australia and Tokyo Haneda Airport under a landmark open skies agreement between Australia and Japan. Key elements of the new arrangements include:
- Daily services between Haneda Airport and Australian airports;
- The removal of all capacity restrictions between all Australian and Japanese airports with the exception of Tokyo Narita Airport;
- The removal of all capacity restrictions at Tokyo Narita Airport from 2013.
Mr Albanese labelled the agreement a "breakthrough", noting more than one million people fly between Australia and Japan each year with upwards of USD3 billion worth of cargo transported between the two countries. As well as opening up Tokyo's Haneda Airport to Australian airlines, the agreement allows an unlimited number of flights between the two countries. “It also makes it possible for Australian airlines to fly beyond Japan to third countries for the first time, including key markets such as China and Europe," Mr Albanese said. The Minister for Tourism Martin Ferguson welcomed the announcement, saying it will significantly boost capacity in terms of the number of available seats between Japan and Australia. Passenger numbers between the two countries are forecast to grow by 25% by 2020, Mr Ferguson said. [more - original PR]