Cathay Pacific eyes flights to Tokyo's Haneda Airport

20 May 2010

Cathay Pacific (CX) is eyeing highly coveted landing rights at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, when the airport starts accepting more international flights in October.

The Hongkong-based carrier is applying for a twice-daily service to Haneda that will complement its existing operations at Narita International airport. CX is timing the new services to begin in October after Haneda completes a major expansion that will include a fourth runway.

“The Haneda flights will give our passengers more choice and greater flexibility when travelling between Hongkong and the Japanese capital,” said CX chief executive Tony Tyler. “Tokyo has long been an important destination for Hongkong people for both business and leisure travel, and the addition of more Cathay Pacific flights will further enhance ties between the two cities.”

CX joins a group of airlines jockeying to establish operations at the rejuvenated Haneda Airport, which has the advantage of being in downtown Tokyo, unlike distant Narita, and of being the main hub for domestic flights.

To date, Delta, American Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines are being tipped for the four slots available at Haneda for US carriers as part of the US-Japan open skies agreement.

CX’s major rival Singapore Airlines has won its government’s approval to be the sole Singapore carrier to serve what is becoming Japan’s second international hub.

Japan’s second largest carrier ANA has already announced plans for new international flights and increased frequencies from Haneda when the expanded airport begins its 24-hour operations.

More airlines are angling for Haneda-bound flights as Japanese authorities give airport access to European and Asian carriers.

If granted landing rights, it will not be the first time CX has operated at Haneda Airport. The airport served as the link for the carrier’s Tokyo service for nearly 20 years between 1959 and 1978.

Currently, CX has six flights a day – five direct and one via Taipei – to Narita. In total, the airline offers 91 passenger flights per week between Hongkong and five major gateways in Japan: Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Sapporo.

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Gigi Onag

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