JAL - Japan Airlines (JL, Tokyo Haneda) and Aeroflot (SU, Moscow Sheremetyevo) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a strategic cooperation agreement, including code-share deals, the airlines have announced.

As a first step, the airlines agreed to start codeshare cooperation between Japan and Russia as well as on Aeroflot's domestic flights and JAL's domestic and international services. The first stage of the codeshare cooperation is planned to be implemented after the fiscal year 2018. According to a press release, the first stage will cover the Tokyo Narita-Moscow Sheremetyevo route as well as Aeroflot's domestic services departing from the capital airport.

Currently, Aeroflot operates a 7x weekly service between Tokyo Narita and Moscow Sheremetyevo. The flight is included in the airline's code-share agreement with Garuda Indonesia. JAL operates a 4x weekly connection between Tokyo Narita and Moscow Domodedovo, code-shared with Aeroflot's domestic competitor S7 Airlines. S7 Airlines also flies 2x weekly from Khabarovsk to Tokyo Narita under a code-share agreement with JAL.

According to the airlines' statement, at later stages, the companies will discuss cooperation on frequent flyer programmes, relocation of JAL from Domodedovo to Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow and whether they can potentially establish a joint business in the future.

The cooperation has been made viable by the growth in traffic between Russia and Japan since visa regimes were liberalised on January 1, 2017.