Delta has been given the go ahead for its plans to launch flights between Seattle and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport in the spring of next year.
At the start of this month, Business Traveller reported that Delta had applied to the US Department of Transportation for permission to fly out of Seattle (see here). The airline reported yesterday that it had been given preliminary approval for the new service.
As part of the application, Delta sought to demonstrate the business benefits of the new service. It described how the Eastside tech corridor near Seattle was home to companies such as Microsoft, Boeing, Expedia, and Pokémon USA, many of which have business ties with Japan.
The airline presented a letter from Microsoft that supported its arguments for the benefits of a new service: “As the largest business centre in the Pacific Northwest, there is regular and frequent business travel between Seattle and Tokyo,” it said. “Haneda is the closest and most convenient airport to downtown Tokyo. Having a non-stop service to Haneda is an important benefit.”
The letter pointed out that Seattle was the only major West Coast hub lacking a link to Haneda, with flights already operating from both Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Delta’s new Haneda flight is scheduled to begin in March 2013 and will use a B767-300ER aircraft with fully flat bed seats in BusinessElite.
Delta also announced that it plans to upgrade the aircraft on its daily Seattle to Tokyo Narita service to a B747-400 from June next year. The service is currently operated using an A330 and the new aircraft will offer an extra 78 seats per flight.
Seattle is a growing long-haul hub for Delta, which says that by next summer it will operate more than 40 daily flights out of the airport. In addition to Asian routes, it also flies to Amsterdam and Paris from the West Coast city.
For more information, visit www.delta.com