Japan Transport MInister expects "open skies" agreement with US by "year-end"
Japan Transport Minister, Seiji Maehara, indicated that Japan and the United States would conclude an open skies aviation liberalisation agreement by the end of 2009, stating, "I was briefed that an agreement will be reached by as early as the year-end" (The Asahi Shimbun, 25-Nov-2009). The fifth - and possibly final - round of negotiations is to be held early Dec-2009 in Washington. The talks commenced in Oct-2008. The key issue may well be what is meant by the term; the US view of "open" is considerably different from Japan's and the recent round of talks left a great deal more to be agreed. However, there is pressure on Japan to liberalise if it wants to create an opening for JAL to conclude a full JV with either American Airlines or Delta, as the US DoT will not grant anti-trust immunity for a JV unless an open skies agreement is in place.