Delta Air Lines today filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation to offer customers nonstop service between Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and Seattle, Detroit, Los Angeles and Honolulu. Delta is seeking to compete at Tokyo’s centrally located Haneda airport, which is slated to be re-opened to U.S. carriers for the first time since 1978 under a proposed new aviation treaty with Japan.
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The importance of Delta’s application is underscored by the fact that Delta’s SkyTeam alliance is the only global network without the ability to compete at Haneda. The two other major alliances serving Tokyo-Haneda – Star and oneworld – have Japanese partners that dominate service at the airport, with large hubs and extensive networks across Asia. Awarding Delta new slots to Haneda would add a third major airline alliance flying between the airport and the U.S., increasing competition and benefits to consumers.
“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,” said Glen Hauenstein, Delta’s executive vice president - Network and Revenue Management. “No U.S. airline has invested more in Tokyo, and more customers and communities stand to gain from new Delta service at Haneda than can be served by competing applications.”
Delta’s application proposes new nonstop service, beginning Oct. 31, 2010, between Haneda and four U.S. cities:
* Seattle – This city – already Delta and partner Alaska Airlines’ primary West Coast gateway to Asia – would serve as a convenient connecting point to central Tokyo for customers in 55 U.S. cities, as well as providing nonstop service for Seattle’s large local market. Flights would be operated on 298-seat Airbus A330-300 aircraft.
* Detroit – Service between Detroit and Haneda is a natural addition to Delta’s Eastern U.S. gateway to Asia. Delta’s hub at Detroit, featuring a state-of-the-art 120-gate terminal designed for international connections, will provide one-stop service to Haneda for 106 U.S. cities. Service would be operated on 403-seat Boeing 747-400 aircraft.
* Los Angeles – With flights between Haneda and Los Angeles, Delta would be serving the largest U.S.-Tokyo market, as well as providing one-stop service for customers in 18 U.S. cities. Flights would be operated on Boeing 747-400 aircraft.
* Honolulu – Service between Haneda and Honolulu would provide new options for customers traveling the already popular and competitive leisure route between Tokyo and Hawaii’s largest city. Delta would operate service with Boeing 747-400 aircraft.
“Delta’s proposed new service stands to advance the commercial and tourism interests of both the U.S. and Japan by creating jobs and boosting local economies in communities on both sides of the Pacific, especially in Seattle, Detroit, Los Angeles, Honolulu and Tokyo,” said Andrea Fischer Newman, senior vice president – Government Affairs. “Delta needs to be able to meet the competitive challenge of new services that soon will be launched by Japanese airlines from Haneda, and our strong track record of trans-Pacific service from communities across the United States enables us to do that most effectively.”
She noted that Haneda’s popularity among business travelers could attract new businesses to cities with nonstop service.
“We are looking forward to working with elected and community leaders, our customers and Delta employees to make the case to the Department of Transportation that our new Japan service will have widespread benefits for consumers, residents and businesses alike,” Newman said.
Delta’s new service at Haneda would complement the airline’s existing service at Tokyo’s Narita airport. Delta currently offers flights between Narita and 11 U.S. cities.