July 3, 2008

JAL, ANA May Cut Flights Linking Kansai Airport, Local Cities

Tokyo, July 3 (Jiji Press)--Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways are considering reducing flights on their routes linking Kansai International Airport in Osaka and local Japanese cities due to falling profitability amid soaring fuel prices, it was learned Thursday.

The major Japanese air carriers may scrap some of the routes, informed sources said.

Subject to the consideration are flights linking Kansai International Airport and airports in such regions as Hokkaido, Tohoku, Shikoku and Kyushu, the sources said.

JAL and ANA will speed up negotiations with parties concerned, including the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and relevant local communities, so that they can finish the work to select flights or routes for the restructuring step in late July or early August, the sources said.

They hope to put the streamlining measure into action this autumn at the earliest, the sources said.

Demand for flights linking Kansai International Airport and local cities has been faltering because the airport is less convenient than Osaka International Airport at Itami, which is closer to the city center of Osaka.

In addition, fuel prices have doubled from the year-before levels due to surging crude oil prices, and the airlines are apparently finding it difficult to maintain unprofitable routes by raising airfares, the sources said.

Still, the course of the negotiations looks uncertain. Officials of Kansai International Airport are worried over the envisaged restructuring moves by the airlines since a number of international flights using the airport have already been abolished.

Local communities concerned are also expected to oppose the moves.END

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