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Delta petitions DOT to revoke AA’s Haneda slot

6 Oct 2015 by Clement Huang
The ongoing spat between American Airlines (AA) and Delta Air Lines (Delta) over a flight slot at Tokyo Haneda has taken a new twist, after the latter filed a petition asking the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to revoke the slot from AA. As Business Traveller Asia-Pacific has reported (see here), Delta previously owned the Haneda slot but had faced pressure from both AA and Hawaiian Airlines, who argued that it was only operating the route on a seasonal basis – just often enough to comply with guidelines set out by the DOT. On reviewing the case, the DOT ruled that Delta would be allowed to keep its flight slot on condition that it operated the Seattle–Tokyo Haneda service daily, all year round. However, profit margins for the service were unimpressive, and Delta relinquished control of the slot back in June, with AA next in line to receive it. Under the original DOT ruling, AA would be free to launch a service between Los Angeles and Tokyo Haneda, as long as it inaugurated the route within 60 days of receiving the flight slot. Having turned over the Haneda slot back to the DOT on October 1, Delta is now arguing that AA has yet to announce the new service, which makes it highly unlikely that it would be able to adhere to the DOT’s 60-day timeframe restrictions. “Despite being on notice since June 17, 2015 that the slots at issue would be available on October 1, AA has failed to file any schedules or make available for sale any Los Angeles-Haneda flights,” Delta said in a statement. “AA’s backup award [of the slot] was expressly conditioned on its ability to meet the DOT’s accelerated 60-day startup condition. It would be unfair, arbitrary and capricious to allow AA to violate the terms of its backup award and retain slots for Los Angeles-Haneda service that it has no intention of operating within the next 60 days." In response to an enquiry by Business Traveller Asia-Pacific, a spokesperson for AA said: "regarding the response for the Delta’s DOT petition, AA is still working closely with the authorities to gain a viable slot at Haneda that provides the best timings for our customers. Haneda remains an important airport for Japanese travellers and one that we are keen to service." For more information, visit aa.com and delta.com Clement Huang
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