Delta Airlines is hoping to start daily direct flights from Seattle to both Shanghai and Tokyo Haneda next spring.
The airline has applied to the US Department of Transportation for slots to fly out of Seattle on the two routes.
Delta’s primary hub is Atlanta, but a spokesperson for the airline said Seattle was a secondary hub used for providing connections with Alaska Airlines. The two carriers formed a partnership in 2008, adding a number of North American destinations to their networks.
If approved, Delta plans to start flights between Seattle and Haneda in March or April of 2013, the spokesperson said.
He said the airline wants to fly to Haneda because it offers passengers easier access to Tokyo and convenient domestic flight connections. Currently, the airline’s LA–Tokyo flight also lands at Haneda.
From Japan to Seattle, he said that Delta expects most of the traffic to come from leisure travellers but that there would also be some business travel.
Pending approval, Delta also plans to launch daily flights between Seattle and Shanghai from June 2013, becoming the first carrier to operate this route.
The spokesperson said that there is a significant demand for business people to fly from the US to Shanghai, particularly from those involved in industries such as automobile and electrical appliance manufacture.
At the start of this year, Delta expanded its codeshare agreement with China Eastern airlines which has its main hub in Shanghai and flies from there on to destinations across the country (see here).
For more information, visit www.delta.com