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Hawaiian and JAL apply for antitrust immunity

Hawaiian Airlines and Japan Airlines have filed applications with Japanese and US regulators requesting that their proposed joint venture be immune from antitrust laws.

The companies aim to coordinate schedules, marketing and sales of flights on dozens of routes, and to share revenue and costs, the companies say in a media release.

The proposed business deal would apply to routes between Japan and Hawaii, and within Hawaii and Japan. It would also apply to some routes from Japan to elsewhere in Asia, the carriers say.

The deal would pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the US economy annually and increase the annual number of visitors to the USA by between 162,000 and 350,000, the airlines say in their application to the US Department of Transportation.

The deal would bring 34 new destinations to Hawaiian's network, including six new destinations in Asia and 28 in Japan. Japan Airlines would gain access to six of Hawaiian's inter-island Hawaii routes, the application says.

The airlines note that the only US airlines with antitrust-immune joint ventures are the three large network carriers – American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. "Conferring the advantage of joint-venture antitrust immunity to another US carrier will strengthen the competitiveness of the US airline industry overall," the application to US regulators says.

The airlines also applied to Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

Hawaiian hopes to receive regulatory approval for the venture this year, and to implement the agreement in the second quarter of 2019.

The companies in September 2017 announced their intention to form a joint venture. The kicked off their partnership with a codeshare deal that took effect in March.

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