Japan Airlines contests Haneda slot allocation

Reuters

* Government allocates five take-off and landing slots toJAL, 11 to ANA

* Decision could cost JAL 6 billion yen annually inoperating profit -president

* JAL expects 2 of 4 remaining Haneda airport slots-president

TOKYO, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Japan Airlines on Fridayasked regulators for a formal review of a government decision toaward rival ANA Holdings more than half of new landingslots at Tokyo's bustling Haneda airport, saying it will crimpfuture earnings.

JAL received five landing and take-off slots at TokyoInternational Airport compared with ANA's 11, after ANA argued ataxpayer-funded bailout has given JAL a competitive edge.

The decision, made this week, could cost JAL 6 billion yen($61.67 million) a year in operating profit, said JAL PresidentYoshiharu Ueki, who called the allocation "skewed."

"We have asked regulators to explain whether they gaveconsideration to the convenience of travellers and the impact onairline alliances in making their decision," Ueki said at apress conference at the carrier's headquarters on Friday.

JAL recorded operating profit of 22 billion yen in the threemonths to June 30, whereas ANA recorded a loss of 5.6 billionyen.

The allocation gives ANA, Japan's largest carrier, theopportunity to ply new routes in Asia from the world'sfourth-busiest hub.

It also gives Star Alliance, of which ANA is a member, 52percent of daytime international flights from 47 percent. Itlowers the share of Oneworld, of which JAL is a member, to 25percent from just under 33 percent.

There are four unallocated slots - for U.S. destinations -of which JAL expects two, Ueki said.

ANA lobbied for a ruling in its favour, arguing that JAL's$3.5 billion bailout wiped out most of its debt and left it withtax credits that gave it the financial clout to beat ANA in anyfare-price war.

JAL, once Asia's biggest carrier, countered that competitionissues should be settled through means other than slotallocations which remain valid for as long as the holder staysin business.

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