We knew the Anti-trust immunity process was going to move with surprising speed over in Japan, and here’s news this morning that Japan Airlines has filed its formal application with American Airlines and that we could have resolution as soon as October.

Upon attaining approval from the MLIT and the U.S. DOT, Japan Airlines and American Airlines will operate as two independent legal entities working closely together to strengthen their service offerings to customers on their flights between the United States and Asia. Passengers will benefit from a more comprehensive network, expanded flight options, access to more fare levels and enhanced services while continuing to enjoy reciprocal frequent flyer accrual and redemption benefits and access to both airlines’ lounges. JAL and AA will also be able to improve their efficiencies, lower operating costs, and robustly heighten competition in the trans-Pacific aviation market.

Not surprising here – United Airlines/Continental Airlines are on the same track with their partners. The new prize is Haneda – the closer-in airport for Tokyo that business travelers might prefer.

Full release after the click.

Tokyo, June 18, 2010: Today, Japan Airlines (JAL) applied to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) of Japan, seeking antitrust immunity with American Airlines (AA) so that both members of the oneworld® Alliance may enter a Joint Business Agreement (JBA) and cooperate more closely on the operations of flights between North America and Asia.

“We are excited to have taken another defining step towards forging a closer relationship with our partner American Airlines so that we can combine strengths to offer our customers travelling on trans-Pacific routes unprecedented convenience and flexibility.” said Japan Airlines President and Chief Operating Officer Masaru Onishi of what will be Japan’s first ever antitrust immunity application. “With the immunity, we can greatly enhance competition in this region of growth, including at the strategically-located Haneda Airport which will soon commence scheduled international flights. This is an opportune time for both airlines to retain existing customers, attract new travellers and to lift revenue.”

Japan Airlines and American Airlines have jointly submitted the application for antitrust immunity with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on February 12, 2010.

“We very much look forward to working even more closely with our valued oneworld partner, Japan Airlines,” said Gerard Arpey, AMR’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We appreciate the important role of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and look forward to receiving the appropriate government approvals that will allow us to provide customers with more integrated air service in one of the world’s growing aviation markets and provide benefits to both the U.S. and Japanese economies.”

Upon attaining approval from the MLIT and the U.S. DOT, Japan Airlines and American Airlines will operate as two independent legal entities working closely together to strengthen their service offerings to customers on their flights between the United States and Asia. Passengers will benefit from a more comprehensive network, expanded flight options, access to more fare levels and enhanced services while continuing to enjoy reciprocal frequent flyer accrual and redemption benefits and access to both airlines’ lounges. JAL and AA will also be able to improve their efficiencies, lower operating costs, and robustly heighten competition in the trans-Pacific aviation market.

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