Delta, American and Hawaiian tipped for Haneda Tokyo slots

Four prize slots at Tokyo’s downtown Haneda Airport are likely to be shared between Delta Airlines, American Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines as part of the US-Japan open skies agreements.

The US department of transportation (DOT) has proposed that Delta operate services to Tokyo from both Los Angeles and Detroit, American from New York JFK, while Hawaiian Airlines will run a service from Honolulu. Applications from Continental and United Airlines, soon to merge, were rejected.

Delta Airlines plans to use Boeing B747-400s on both its Los Angeles and Detroit routes.

The DOT accepted Delta’s argument that these larger planes offer greater capacity for the US-Tokyo routes. It was also swayed by Delta’s use of the Detroit hub, since this increases connections for the US Midwest region.

American Airlines membership of the oneworld alliance, which also includes Japan Airlines, was given as a reason to enhance “alliance competition”. United and Continental are both members of the rival Star Alliance, while Delta Airlines is a member of SkyTeam.

New entrant Hawaiian Airlines does not currently serve any Japanese destinations and in choosing that airline, the department said this would achieve “the important objective of enhancing competition in the US-Tokyo market”.

Hawaiian’s proposed daily flight is scheduled to depart Haneda before midnight Japanese time and arrive in Honolulu around noon the same day. Return flights would depart Honolulu in the early evening and arrive at Haneda around 10pm the next day. Hawaiian will initially service the Honolulu-Tokyo flights with its Boeing 767-300ER aircraft, which seat up to 264 passengers. However, it plans to add its new and Airbus A330-200 aircraft onto the route, seating 294 passengers.

The DOT said that providing there were no major obstacles, the selected carriers would begin Haneda operations by January 29, 2011.

For more details on the airlines, go to www.aa.com, www.delta.com and www.hawaiianair.com

Kenny Coyle