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open-sky-erika-y.jpgAfter 10 years of talks, the United States and Japan sealed a landmark “open skies” deal on Friday to dramatically increase air traffic between the two countries. By removing legislative red tape on cross-border flights (like limits on passenger numbers), the treaty will offer American and Japanese flyers an up-tick in competitive pricing and wider range of routes to choose from. Before the accord takes effect, the U.S. must first grant Japan’s two largest airlines (JAL and All Nippon Airways) antitrust approval to partner with its carriers (Delta and American Airlines in particular are chomping at the bit, proffering billions to JAL). Though the process could take up to six months, once complete, the barrage of service benefits for Pacific pond-hoppers (i.e. cut-rate fares and new destinations) promises to be worth the wait.

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