NBAA Convention News

Japan’s Message To Air Charter Operators: We’re Open for Business

 - October 21, 2013, 12:01 PM

Not long ago it was a real struggle for charter operators to get slots into Japan’s Narita International Airport and every other Japanese airport for that matter. Thankfully, for charter operators around the world, Japan has adopted a much friendlier approach to business aircraft operations.

The Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) and Japanese Business Aviation Association (JBAA) announced on October 21 that the county is implementing new charter operations regulations based on FAA Part 135 standards.

“Japanese authorities today much more recognize the value of business aviation in our country,” stated Hiroshi Higashiyama, representative director for Universal Aviation in Japan and managing director of the Japanese Business Aviation Association. “The JBAA has been working to make Japan the world standard for business aviation growth.”

“The Japanese have been working hard to ease their regulations for foreign charter operations. In fact, prior to this there were no specific regulations for business aircraft charters or private business aircraft other than it was highly restricted,” explained Lex den Herder, v-p of government and industry affairs at Universal Weather and Aviation (Booth No. C11016). “Along with open access, new rules now permit charter operators to make multiple flights within the country.”

Higashiyama stressed that while Japan’s cabotage rules regarding charter operations are loosening there are still tight restrictions. “You can bring passengers in and drop off in-country,” he said. “But you cannot pick up additional passengers and carry them to other cities in Japan.”

As for the structure of the new rules, said JBAA director and special advisor Kirk Tamura, “They are very much the same as Part 135. Technically, the Japanese authority [JCAB] is not changing the law itself, they are just putting in their own standards.”

To avoid any misunderstandings, Tamura-San said that foreign charter operators should check with their third-party provider or Japan-based ground handler, such as Universal Avition, regarding the new rules.

The new rules also reduce the lead-time for obtaining permits for non-ICAO registered aircraft to three-days. “In the past, permits had a lead-time of 10-days,” den Herder said. “For emergency trips that are for business purposes only, the permits can be obtained in as little as 24 working hours. This is another great win for business aviation around the world,” den Herder said. “Its success is the result, once again, of a cooperative effort between Japanese officials and business aviation leadership.”

While it is probably the biggest forward-step Japan has ever taken with regards to an open skies policy, it is not going to be the last. “This is the first step of the growth of general aviation in Japan,” Higashiyama said. “More flexibility in the infrastructure will help it grow. We will have the Olympics in 2020, and by that time we have to be more open. This is the important first step.”

“Business aviation is small now in Japan,” Tamura said. “We are expecting this deregulation effort to bring in many more business aircraft operating in Japan along with welcoming more operations from overseas.”