The US Department of Transportation (DoT) has “tentatively” granted approval for the launch of 12 new flights between cities in the US and Tokyo Haneda Airport, with a final concrete decision expected in the coming weeks.

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United are contesting 12 new daytime slot pairs between the US and Japan that are up for grabs by US airlines following a recently signed agreement between the two countries. Once awarded, services are planned to launch in the summer of 2020, coinciding with the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Delta has received tentative approval for five new routes to Tokyo Haneda, connecting the airport with Seattle (SEA), Detroit (DTW), Atlanta (ATL), Portland (PDX) and Honolulu (HNL).

As previously reported by Business Traveller Asia-Pacific, a number of these will be operated by aircraft featuring the airline’s new business class Delta One Suites and Delta Premium Select premium economy seats.

United has received tentative approval for four daily flights connecting Tokyo Haneda with New York/Newark (EWR), Chicago (ORD), Washington DC (IAD) and Los Angeles (LAX).

Passengers on these routes would also have access to connecting flights to 37 domestic destinations in Japan through United’s joint-venture partner, All Nippon Airways (ANA).

American Airlines, meanwhile, has been offered tentative approval for two daily services – a new route to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and a second daily flight to Los Angeles (LAX). American Airlines launched its existing daily Los Angeles-Haneda service in 2016.

Like United, American Airlines would also be able to offer enhanced domestic connectivity through its joint-venture partner, in this case Japan Airlines.

The last of the 12 slots will (tentatively) go to Hawaiian Airlines for a new route to Honolulu – notable with the upcoming May 24 launch of ANA’s Tokyo Narita-Honolulu service, which will be served by three new Airbus A380 superjumbos.

Not all of the routes that were applied for have been granted tentative approval, however. American Airlines’ proposed Las Vegas service was not included in the tentative approval list and thus doesn’t look like it will be getting the green light. United’s proposed Houston (IAH) and Guam (GUM) routes also didn’t make the list.

Compared with Narita Airport, Haneda is closer to downtown Tokyo, making it a preferable option for many travellers, particularly business travellers.

Travelling to Tokyo and need some tips on the best ways to get between the two airports and downtown? Have a read of our Smart Traveller guide: