Japan's MLIT stated (09-Sep-2011) it would commence aviation talks for an open skies agreement with Canada in Vancouver on 13/14-Sep-2011. With the exception of the US, this will be the first open skies negotiations with a country outside east Asia and the ASEAN group, with which MLIT has almost completed conclusion for agreements.
Japan to commence open skies talks with Canada
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Iberia to launch Tokyo & Shanghai in Asia return after many years. Another sign of approval from IAG
Iberia is planning two Asian route launches, Tokyo and Shanghai, for winter 2016/2017. No other airlines currently operate directly between Spain and either city. Nevertheless, they are both important destinations for travellers from Spain, who are currently making indirect flights.
Iberia plans to launch a three times weekly A330-200 service from Madrid to Tokyo Narita in Oct-2016. The planned Shanghai service still awaits confirmation of traffic rights and slots at Pudong, but is also expected to be three times weekly, to commence in Oct-2016 and use A330-200 equipment.
Iberia has not served Asia for many years. Since the formation of IAG in 2011 it has continued to concentrate its long haul operations on Latin America. IAG only operates to Asia through British Airways, and is a lightweight in the region compared with its main European rivals. CAPA estimates that the two new routes would add only around 6% to IAG's current weekly ASKs to Asia Pacific. Nevertheless, they set Iberia back on the path to a more globally balanced network. They are also a further sign of IAG's confidence in the Spanish national airline.
Air Canada in Asia: seeking JVs as up-gauging/density drives growth, with limited frequency increase
Developments in the Asia-North America market have been dominated in recent times by the growth of US airlines (American Airlines in Asia, Delta’s Seattle hub, United’s secondary China network), partnerships (Japan JVs, Delta’s flirtations with Korean Air and Skymark) and the greater presence of Asian carriers (ANA, Cathay, EVA and mainland Chinese carriers).
Air Canada is also making its move. Its growth may appear more subdued. This is because frequency growth has only been 15%; but RPKs have grown 46% (and ASKs 43%) due to up-gauging to larger aircraft, deploying more dense configurations (as on its 777-300ER fleet) and improving load factors. Air Canada would like frequency growth in Beijing and Shanghai, but has been unable to obtain commercially viable slots – even though American and Delta have in recent times.
Air Canada is still working through a JV with Star partner Air China and is looking for more partnership opportunities, including JVs. ANA is interested in bringing Air Canada into its trans-Pacific JV with United, but United is not so inclined. Air Canada would like to see partnerships develop better offline coverage, as it does not anticipate launching new Asian destinations. Another longer term objective is building up its sixth freedom strategy, which is so far concentrated on the US-European market.