All Nippon Airways and Lufthansa’s effort to expand their Japan-Europe joint venture (JV) will add only two new long-haul routes, but this will open connections to 26 new destinations in Europe for ANA.

ANA has applied to Japanese regulators for antitrust authority to add Lufthansa Group subsidiaries Swiss International Airlines and Austrian Airlines to the existing bilateral JV. The move reflects ANA’s plan to use alliance partnerships – as well as new routes of its own – to increase its international footprint.

Direct flights between Tokyo Narita International Airport and Vienna, operated by Austrian, and Zurich, operated by Swiss, will be added to the JV agreement, subject to approval by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. This means Europe-Japan direct routes covered by the agreement will increase to nine.

The addition of Swiss and Austrian will give ANA 128 destinations in Europe, up from the 102 under the existing Lufthansa partnership. An ANA spokeswoman says the three European carriers will have access to more than 100 ANA domestic routes, although ANA services beyond Tokyo are not included.

The carriers plan to begin joint sales and pricing for the expanded JV during the northern spring of 2013. Under the existing bilateral JV, ANA and Lufthansa began offering joint services on select routes from October 2011, with full benefits coming into force by April 1.

Both ANA and its rival Japan Airlines have already established JVs on transpacific routes with their U.S. airline partners, United Airlines and American Airlines, respectively. This was one of the major fruits of an expanded air services agreement between the two countries in 2010. JAL also won antitrust approval on May 25 for a JV with British Airways on Japan-Europe routes. This arrangement is expected to begin in March.

ANA is not just relying on its partners to fulfil its plans for a 22% increase in its international network. The 55 Boeing 787s that are progressively entering its fleet are being used to open new long-haul routes. The carrier has now taken delivery of 10 787s, the ANA spokeswoman says. ANA’s first new international route using 787s was between Tokyo Haneda and Frankfurt.

The airline has also announced it is adding two new routes using its existing fleet. ANA plans to begin service from Tokyo Narita to Yangon, Myanmar on Oct. 15, and to Delhi on Oct. 28. ANA’s Yangon flights will be three times a week using a Boeing 737-700, while the Delhi flight will be daily, using a 767-300ER. Japan Airlines has been transitioning its own Delhi flights from Boeing 777s to 787s.