Hawaiian Airlines and Japan Airlines have filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) seeking immunity from antitrust laws to create a joint venture (JV) that they say “promises significant advantages for consumers”.
If approved, this will be Hawaiian’s first JV, and the first JV in the US that does not involve one of the three largest US carriers of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.
The antitrust immunised joint venture (ATI-JV) will build upon the codeshare partnership that the two carriers initiated in March, allowing them to coordinate marketing and sales efforts and share costs and revenue on their joint venture routes.
In their application, Hawaiian and JAL said that resulting efficiency will create a cascade of consumer benefits including lower fares, increased capacity and enhanced consumer choice.
Hawaiian and JAL estimate the JV will bring an additional 162,000 to 350,000 passengers to Hawaii and contribute between $184.5 million and $402.3 million to the U.S. economy annually, while generating between 1,855 to 4,049 US jobs.
“We have long admired JAL’s excellent service, which corresponds well with the authentic Hawaiian hospitality we offer,” said Hawaiian president and CEO, Peter Ingram. “This joint venture will combine two premier brands in the highly competitive Japan-Hawaii market, and travelers from both of our countries will benefit.
“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,” said Japan Airlines president, Yuji Akasaka.
If approved, the ATI-JV would facilitate Hawaiian Airlines’ enhanced access to 34 destinations throughout Japan, including Nagoya and Okinawa, as well as 11 points in Asia beyond Japan. Japan Airlines, in turn, will have improved access to Hawaiian’s Neighbor Island network as well as its non-stop flights to Honolulu from Haneda and Sapporo.
Hawaiian and JAL hope to win government approval later this year, and are then hoping it will allow them to launch the JV in the second quarter of 2019.