ANA looking to have flights to Europe, USA from Haneda

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Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) is considering starting flights to Europe and North America from Tokyo's Haneda airport when it opens to scheduled international services in October.

"We are thinking of flights to Europe and North America, such as the west coast of the USA," says an ANA spokeswoman.

The Japanese government has not allocated landing slots at Haneda for international flights yet, she says, adding that this is likely to be in August.

ANA already operates regular charter international flights out of Haneda, and plans to boost flight frequencies on these services when the airport's fourth runway opens, which will allow for international scheduled services.

It will add more flights to its services between Haneda and Seoul Gimpo, Beijing, Shanghai Hongqiao and Hong Kong, it has said.

ANA will also launch a Haneda-Taipei Songshan service from 31 October, operating it 14 times weekly.

"We have planned this route with the assumption that we will get enough slots for international flights," says the spokeswoman.

ANA was given 11 and a half daily domestic slots in the latest round of allocations in early January. The uneven number denotes a flight that departs one day, and returns the next.

ANA's rival, Japan Airlines (JAL), was allocated seven and a half slots. A JAL spokeswoman says the airline is still studying how best to use the slots, and has no concrete plans to start new international services from Haneda for now.

"We are looking more at increasing flight frequencies and downsizing aircraft, as we had set out to do as part of our financial restructuring," says the spokeswoman.

JAL filed for bankruptcy protection in January after incurring trillions in yen of debt, and is now restructuring its operations.

The number of daytime take-offs and landings at Haneda will increase to 410,000 a year from 300,000 when the fourth runway opens.

Transport minister Seiji Maehara has said most of the new slots will go to international flights.

Of the additional 110,000 slots, 50,000 will be allocated by 2011. The remaining 60,000 slots will be allocated in or after 2011.