The battle between Northwest Airlines and its U.S. rivals over Japanese aviation rights intensified Wednesday as they took their cases beyond policymakers to the traveling public.
Northwest paid for a full-page advertisement in the Post-Dispatch, as well as other metropolitan newspapers, to list its objections to the liberalized aviation agreement that U.S. negotiators are discussing with the Japanese.
Trans World Airlines Inc. would get one daily nonstop between St. Louis and Tokyo as part of the deal, which would give U.S. carriers more than 70 new flights a week to Japan. TWA and the Regional Commerce & Growth Association are aligned in the lobbying effort with Access U.S.-Japan, an umbrella group pushing for more flights between the countries. The group says the agreement being discussed in Japan this week would create air service from as many as 10 U.S. cities that are currently denied access to Asian markets. It estimates that the new passenger and cargo traffic would generate more than $10.8 billion a year in new economic activity in the United States. Northwest said that although the deal would mean increased service by U.S. carriers, from more U.S. cities, their Japanese competitors would benefit disproportionately. "It's a breathtaking example of the U.S. snatching defeat from the jaws of victory," Northwest said in its ad. "It's the U.S. that has a $5.3 billion aviation trade surplus, yet we're busily making concessions to give it away." Northwest and United Airlines are the two dominant U.S. carriers in the Japanese market. Northwest contends that any increase in the number of flights allocated to U.S. carriers will be valueless unless the Japanese also give them adequate takeoff and landing rights at Tokyo's congested Narita Airport. …