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Japan Orders JAL to Share Foreign Routes

December 18, 1985|United Press International

TOKYO — The government ruled Tuesday that the partially state-owned Japan Air Lines must give up its 15-year-old monopoly on international passenger flights, opening the way for two other domestic airlines to compete overseas.

Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone's Cabinet abolished a law that allowed the flag carrier exclusive rights to international air routes, officials said.

"The Cabinet today abolished the 'aviation constitution' and notified all airlines about the decision," a Transport Ministry official said.

The 1970 "aviation constitution," which regulated strict divisions among Japan's three major airlines, was designed to promote the growth and development of the nation's aviation industry.

Under the law, JAL, which is 34.5% government owned, was assigned international routes and domestic flights connecting large cities, while Toa Domestic Airways and All Nippon Airways were allowed to provide domestic services.

Must Seek Approval

The Cabinet action Tuesday means the airlines will have to seek approval from authorities before they can begin services on new international and domestic routes, the ministry spokesman said.

The move comes amid heightened criticism of JAL after one of its jumbo jets crashed in central Japan on Aug. 12, killing 520 persons in history's worst single plane disaster.

Nakasone ordered a top-level management reshuffle of JAL as a result of the August crash.

The scrapping of the aviation law was recommended in a report submitted to Transport Minister Tokuo Yamashita on Dec. 9 by the ministry's transport policy study council.

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