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TOKYO: All Nippon Airways has been granted antitrust immunity for a trans-Pacific cargo joint venture with United Airlines by Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT).

ANA aircraftThe airline said it had applied to MLIT in November 2014 for antitrust immunity to enable ANA and UA to create the first air cargo network of its type between Japan and the U.S. ANA Cargo currently operates a fleet of 10 B767 freighters from its Okinawa hub.

The antitrust immunity will allow ANA and UA to jointly manage network planning, pricing, sales and handling on yet-to-be-announced trans-Pacific routes. The two companies say the joint venture will generate substantial service benefits for freight customers including an expanded network, greater capacity and expedited transport.

The ANA/UA move is a logical next step following the launch of a similar agreement between ANA and Lufthansa Cargo for services ex-Japan last December. By early February 2015, 300 extra consignments had been sent and successfully processed according to Lufthansa and both carriers expect to extend their "metal neutral", shared income operation for ex-Europe traffic by mid-year.

Commenting on the ANA deal, Lufthansa Cargo CEO Peter Gerber noted: "The joint venture is a real advantage for our customers. They can already benefit from more flights and a denser network on routes from Japan to Europe."

Adding Star Alliance partner United Airlines to Lufthansa and ANA effectively provides a round-the-world cargo operation for the three carriers based on shared risk, resources and reward.

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