A U.S. official said approval of the antitrust immunity applications from carriers in the U.S. and Japan could take much of next year. The open-skies agreement between the countries depends on that approval. "There's no promise that antitrust immunity will be granted, or granted with any set of conditions or lack of conditions," said John Byerly, deputy assistant secretary for transportation affairs at the State Department. "This is an independent process. What is important is that DOT will not consider an application of antitrust immunity between carriers unless there is the text of the open-skies agreement for that country."