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Hawaiian, JAL seeking antitrust immunity to pursue joint venture

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    A Hawaiian Airlines plane, top, and Japan Airlines plane. The two airlines are seeking to create a new joint venture.

Hawaiian Airlines and Japan Airlines, two major carriers serving the Hawaii market, are seeking to create a joint venture, which they say would provide consumers with lower fares, increased capacity and more choices.

The carriers have petitioned the U.S. Department of Transportation and Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism for immunity from anti-trust laws.

Hawaiian and JAL hope to obtain government approval later this year, which would allow them to launch their new joint venture in the second quarter of 2019. JAL, which was founded in 1951, now reaches more than 344 airports in 56 countries and regions together with its codeshare partners with a modern fleet of more than 228 aircraft.

The joint venture would allow carriers to coordinate marketing and sales efforts and share costs and revenue on their joint venture routes.

Hawaiian and JAL estimate that transitioning into a joint venture would bring an additional 162,000 to 350,000 passengers to Hawaii. The additional visitors could contribute an extra $184.5 million to $402.3 million to the U.S. economy annually and generate an extra 1,855 to 4,049 U.S. jobs.

Hawaiian Airlines, which is in its 89th year of service, is the state’s largest and longest-serving airline. The carrier offers non-stop service to Hawaii from 12 U.S. gateway cities, along with service from Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa and Tahiti. Hawaiian provides approximately 170 jet flights daily between the Hawaiian Islands, and offers more than 250 daily flights system-wide.

Peter Ingram, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, said in a statement,“We have long admired JAL’s excellent service, which corresponds well with the authentic Hawaiian hospitality we offer. This joint venture will combine two premier brands in the highly competitive Japan-Hawaii market, and travelers from both of our countries will benefit.”

The joint venture could provide improved access for Hawaiian Airlines to 34 destinations throughout Japan, including Nagoya and Okinawa, as well as 11 points in Asia beyond Japan.

JAL, which was founded in 1951, now reaches more than 344 airports in 56 countries and regions together with its codeshare partners with a modern fleet of more than 228 aircraft. However, it could benefit from enhanced access to Hawaiian’s Neighbor Island network and its non-stop flights to Honolulu from Haneda and Sapporo.

Yuji Akasaka, president of Japan Airlines, said in a statement, “Through our new partnership with Hawaiian Airlines, we hope to boost travel of not only Japanese visitors to and through the beautiful Hawaiian Islands, but also that of Hawaii residents seeking to travel to and beyond Japan to Asian countries on our seamless networks.”

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