United Airlines asks to fly to Haneda Airport (Updated)

18 Feb 2010

(Updated) Four more US carriers have joined United Airlines in seeking approval from the US Department of Transportation to serve Haneda Airport in downtown Tokyo.

American, Continental, Delta and Hawaiian Airlines have applied for four US-Haneda slots, which became available as a result of the open skies pact reached between the US and Japan in December 2009.

  • American plans to operate flights from New York's John F Kennedy International airport and Los Angeles International airport using 247-seat Boeing 777s configured with 16 first class, 37 business and 194 economy seats.

  • Continental and its wholly-owned subsidiary Continental Micronesia are seeking slots for air services from Newark and Guam, respectively. Continental would operate Boeing 777s from Newark to Haneda while Continental Micronesia would place a Boeing 767-400 on its flights to Tokyo.

  • Delta is seeking slots to offer flights from Haneda to Seattle, Detroit, Los Angeles and Honolulu. On its proposed flights to Haneda from Detroit, Los Angeles and Honolulu Delta would operate Boeing 747-400s, and fly Airbus A330-300s from Seattle.

  • Hawaiian is asking two of the four slots to support two daily non-stop flights from Honolulu to Haneda using Boeing 767-300ER aircraft. Hawaiian tells regulators as the first of its Airbus A330s come online later this year, 767s will be free for use on the proposed flights to Haneda.

"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," says Glen Hauenstein, Delta's EVP network and revenue management. Through its merger with Northwest Airlines, Delta has a strong presence at Narita.

Earlier, United Airlines applied with the US Department of Transportation to serve Tokyo's second gateway with a non-stop flight from San Francisco. The proposed San Francisco-Haneda flight will be the first non-stop service between San Francisco and Tokyo's city centre hub.

"We look forward to the opportunity to deliver new options and an improved level of convenience for customers travelling to and from Tokyo," said Mark Schwab, United senior vice-president for alliances, international and regulatory affairs.

Haneda, which has been primarily a domestic airport since Narita Airport became the country's main international gateway in 1978, is being transformed into Japan's second global hub that can operate on a 24-hours basis. Last month, the country's second largest carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA) announced the expansion of its international routes from Haneda. (See related news here and here).

To date, Haneda has been serving regional flights from within Asia such as Seoul's Gimpo International Airport, Shanghai's Hongqiao International Airport, Beijing Capital International Airport and Hong Kong International Airport.

If its application is approved, United plans to utilise a Boeing 777-200 aircraft with three-class configuration on the route. San Francisco is United's primary US gateway to Asia and is a popular destination for travellers flying to Tokyo from cities across the US. At Haneda, United passengers will benefit from the airline's code-share agreements with ANA, which will provide connecting services to numerous cities in Japan and in Asia.

Most of the America carriers expect flights to Haneda starting in late 2010.

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Gigi Onag

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