JAL looking for extra Haneda slots

Competition for new landing and take off slots at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport is fierce, and Japan Airlines Corp., says it’s in the fight for a fistful of them.

Japan’s Transport Ministry is now studying how to allocate the new slots, but has confirmed it will not discriminate against JAL, which had previously filed for bankruptcy.  Although it won’t exclude airlines such as JAL, the panel does confirm the rebounding airline will face scrutiny over the 2010 bankruptcy.

Japan Air Lines quickly bounced back, turning its entire corporate image upside down, slashing jobs and cutting routes, regaining profitability and in September being relisted on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

All Nippon Airways is opposing JAL’s request for more slots at Haneda.  ANA officials have testified against JAL at a panel hearing, arguing that “a failed airline is disqualified from receiving a slot allocation at a crowded airport.”  Some panel members, however, aren’t sure they want to go along with the ANA argument.

The panel says it will examine airlines’ contributions to maintaining flight networks, and will focus on routes that have low passenger traffic and few flights to or from Haneda, as well as smaller regional airports.  Haneda will be adding some 20,000 annual landing and takeoff slots, the equivalent to more than two dozen flights a day, for domestic services beginning from Haneda at the end of March.  The panel says it will make its selection by the end of the year.