Alliances tussle for dominance at Haneda

21 Oct 2010 by AndrewGough

Airline alliances Oneworld and Star Alliance have outlined their strategies for Tokyo Haneda, which opens up to scheduled international traffic later this month.

The battle for dominance at the airport between Star and Oneworld members has been heating up, due in large to the fact that Narita is almost four times further away from downtown Tokyo than Haneda – 41 and 12 miles respectively according to the Official Airline Guide (OAG).

It will also be the first time the airport has been opened up to long haul gateway traffic since long haul services were moved to Narita at the end of the 1970s, and with a brand new terminal and runway offering new slots, it presents an irresistible opportunity for airlines eager to make new roads into one of the world’s leading economies.

Come the end of the month, JAL, Cathay Pacific, ANA, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airlines will all start flying increased frequencies or entirely new international routes.


Oneworld moves its flight operations to TIAT on October 21, including JAL’s twice-daily flights to Seoul Gimpo and once daily flight to Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai Hongqaio, currently operated as “scheduled chartered” services.

Oneworld claims it will be the leading alliance at Haneda’s new Tokyo International Air Terminal (TIAT), with key members JAL and Cathay Pacific among the first to either increase frequencies or launch new services.

On October 31, JAL will add a third daily return service to Seoul Gimpo, as well as launching six twice-daily international services to Taipei Songshan, Bangkok, Honolulu, Paris, San Francisco and Singapore (see online news June 30).

Cathay, on the same day, will launch a twice daily round trip to and from its Hong Kong base (see online news July 8).

Oneworld’s presence at Haneda will be further strengthened when American Airlines enters the fray on January 20, with a daily New York JFK route, followed a month later by British Airways with its five-times weekly Heathrow service (see online news September 21).


JAL’s Star Alliance rival at Haneda, ANA, will launch new scheduled international services to Bangkok, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Singapore and Taipei Song Shan (see online news June 25). SIA and Thai will, at the same time, begin flights to Changi and Bangkok respectively.

Air Canada will enter Haneda for the first time in January with its Vancouver service.

Star hopes the new services will complement Air China, ANA and Asiana’s flights to destinations such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul Gimpo and Shanghai Hongqiao.


Not be overlooked is the third alliance: Skyteam.

Regional flights are operated into Haneda by Korean Air with a current daily service from Seoul Incheon and a three times a day service from Seoul Gimpo.

Transpacific flights with US carrier Delta get under way in 2011. Delta will operate a daily non-stop flight from both Detroit and Los Angeles.  Connections will be available from US domestic points. 

Delta claims passengers from 106 US cities will, changing in Detroit, be provided with a one-stop service to Haneda. Passengers from a further 21 US cities can make one-stop trips to Haneda via Los Angeles.

Services start on February 19 and Delta will roster a two-class B747-400 for both transpacific routes.

One interesting development is that Air France (a Skyteam member) enters the Haneda market through a code-share deal with JAL (a Oneworld member) on the Paris CDG route. 

Despite being members of rival alliances both carriers have a close co-operation on the Paris-Tokyo route.

So throughout Europe Air France markets JAL’s Paris CDG-Tokyo Haneda route. JAL’s flight timings to/from Haneda at Paris-CDG allow connections across the French national airline’s extensive mainland European and UK networks (see Route of the Month, Business Traveller November 2011 for full details).


On paper, Oneworld’s plans would appear set to provide it with the larger domestic and international network from Haneda.

JAL serves 34 destinations within Japan alone, not including its four scheduled chartered international routes. Add to that the 12 new long haul destinations to be provided by its Oneworld partners, and JALs own increased frequencies and six new routes.

ANA by comparison serves 36 destinations, with five more to come online at the end of the month. SIA, Thai and Air Canada will bring one new destinations each.

But Skyteam will prove to be a strong competitor across the Pacific. From October 31, Skyteam will be the leading alliance across Europe for direct services to Tokyo Haneda. That is until British Airways’ rival service from London Heathrow launches next February.

For more information visit,,

Report by Andrew Gough and Alex McWhirter

For more on this story, see the previous articles below:-


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