Monday, October 3, 2011
Last Friday, Australia and Japan signed an open skies agreement lifting capacity restrictions on flights between the two countries and granting Australia fifth freedom rights for flights continuing beyond Japan. See Australia, Japan Sign Open Skies Aviation Agreement, Reuters, Sept. 30, 2011 (available here). The agreement is a positive reflection of both countries' recent interest in air transport liberalization, having been open skies skeptics only a few years ago. Particularly interesting was the announcement of a proposed new airline, Jetstar Japan, owned in equal parts (one third each) by Qantas, Japan Airlines and Mitsubishi. This falls within both countries' foreign ownership limits, but the the venture suggests international collaboration on airline ownership may not be as toxic a political notion as it was a few years ago when the Qantas/BA merger fell apart.