Alexandria, VA— On Saturday, March 14th, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater and Japanese Minister of Transport Takao Fujii held a ceremony at Washington Dulles International Airport where they signed a Memorandum of Understanding which will allow the two countries to increase aviation travel and commerce.
Said James A. Wilding, President/CEO of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, "We are honored that Secretary Slater and Minister Fujii chose Washington Dulles International Airport for this important ceremony. It also marks the advent of some very significant benefits for our metropolitan region and the enhancement of travel opportunities through the Dulles International Gateway."
As a direct result of these successful negotiations between Japan and the United States, All Nippon Airways, the largest passenger airline in Asia, will add two additional weekly nonstop flights between Tokyo’s Narita Airport and Dulles Airport. The current ANA schedule of four flights a week will add a fifth flight on April 4 and a sixth on July 7, l998.
This increase in service will provide more convenient access to Asia for business travelers. It is estimated that the economic impact of the two additional flights will translate into $108 million annually bringing the total impact of the six weekly flights to a yearly infusion of $488 million into the Washington region local economy.
Another important result of the opening of aviation activity between Japan and the U.S. is the recent announcement by ANA and United Airlines of a code-share agreement which will allow passengers of those airlines to enjoy a seamless connection through coordinated schedules, one-stop check-in and baggage connections, reciprocal airline lounge access, and the accrual and use of mileage in both airlines’ frequent flyer programs.
At Dulles, United is a major service provider. The proposed ANA-United nonstop route between Dulles and Tokyo would allow leisure and business travelers, including U.S. Government travelers, the convenience of nonstop travel, as well as easy connections throughout Asia and the United States.
Dulles Airport nearly reached the 14 million passenger mark in 1997 and continues to show strong growth in passenger and cargo activity. Numbers for ANA activity at Dulles in 1997, 94,325 passengers, show a six percent increase over 1996 levels. Correspondingly, cargo business increased 20 percent with 5,554 metric tons moved in 1997.
The announcement of the two additional ANA flights and the new code-sharing agreement with United is expected to produce significant passenger and cargo increases on these routes in l998.