American and Delta compete for lucrative Japanese market

American and Delta compete for lucrative Japanese market

American Airlines (AA) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) have both lodged applications with the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to offer customers services to Tokyo International Airport at Haneda, as they jostle for position in the lucrative Asian market.

AA proposes to offer services to Haneda from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the two largest markets between the American mainland and Tokyo.

Similarly, DAL would offer passengers nonstop services from Seattle, Detroit, Los Angeles and Honolulu to Tokyo. Haneda is slated to be re-opened to US carriers for the first time since 1978 under a proposed new American aviation treaty with Japan.

As a leading member of the SkyTeam alliance, the deal is of particular significance to Delta. While both Star and oneworld have Japanese partners which offer services to the airport, SkyTeam is presently unable to offer Japanese connections.

“Enabling Delta to enter Haneda is critical to advancing airline competition in Tokyo, particularly considering the strong presence that the Star and oneworld alliance carriers already enjoy at this important and tightly controlled airport,” explained Glen Hauenstein, Delta’s executive vice president for network and revenue management. 


However, AA is also making a strong case for access, applauding the Department of Transport’s negotiations with Japan allowing the new Open Skies arrangement.

“We have long wanted to fly from New York and Los Angeles to Haneda, the closest airport to downtown Tokyo,” commented said Will Ris, American’s senior vice president – government affairs. 

“New York and Tokyo are two of the world’s principal financial centers, and Los Angeles, the nation’s second largest city, has substantial ties to Japan. 

American also hopes a new service will strengthen the relationship with our oneworld partner Japan Airlines (JAL), which has extensive operations at Haneda. The two airlines recently filed a joint application for antitrust immunity for an alliance agreement and a joint business agreement for services between North America and Asia. 

Delta’s application proposes a new nonstop service beginning on October 31st 2010.