Japan Airlines and Aeroflot are to start code-share flights as part of a wider planned collaboration.

A joint business could be created in the future as part of the strategic co-operation deal.

The aim is to provide more options for travel between Russia and Japan.

This follows the relaxation of visa requirements from January 1, leading to increased travel demand between the two countries.

The first stage of the codeshare co-operation is due to start at the end of the 2018 fiscal year.

Jal currently operates four weekly flights to Moscow Domodedovo airport from Tokyo Narita using Boeing 787-8 aircraft. Frequency was temporarily raised to seven flights a week to accommodate the demand during the peak summer season.

Aeroflot operates daily non-stop flights year-round from Moscow Sheremetyevo airport to Narita using Airbus 330-300 aircraft.

Jal executive vice president Tadashi Fujita said: “As the only airline in Japan operating to Russia for over 50 years, the launch of a forward looking partnership with Aeroflot demonstrates our strong commitment to this very important market.

“As we jointly started the Tokyo-Moscow flight 50 years ago, this strategic co-operation of mutual benefits will offer both airlines’ customers more options and flexibility.”

Aeroflot strategy and alliances deputy CEO Giorgio Callegari said: “The Japanese market is a long-standing and important one for Aeroflot.

“We believe that by expanding our partnership with Jal for both direct and transit traffic we will be able to further develop this market by providing more opportunities for our passengers.”