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AA Discontent With Award to Delta of Final Slot at HND

Sour grapes or valid points? The DFW-based carrier has filed a formal appeal with the agency over the decision, which was made late last month.

Back in July, the U.S. Department of Transport (DOT) awarded Delta Airlines a hotly contested route from Minneapolis—St. Paul International Airport (MSP) to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (HND). Delta beat out United Continental, Hawaiian and American to take a grand total of two daytime slots at HND, but the latter carrier has been quick to voice its discontent over the decision and has now filed a formal objection with the agency in protest.

The DOT passed on American’s proposal of a route linking Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to HND, a decision that the carrier believes is a mistake.

With the agency unlikely to change its decision, The Dallas Morning News reports that American believes that Delta should be held to very strict conditions in terms of how it uses the route. Should it not be utilized to maximum potential, American says that Delta’s newly granted route should be turned over to DFW.

American has also questioned the basis of the DOT’s decision, which, it believes, was made on “a significant misinterpretation” of a goal set back in 2010. At the time, the objective of this was to provide service to Japan from a Midwestern or northern hub.

In its appeal, American argues that the aviation market between the two countries has changed quite a lot over the past six years and reiterates the points it made in its original application for the fifth slot at HND.

As well as having strong local business ties to Japan, it also says that demand for Asian travel within the DFW catchment area is strong. American also says that DFW boasts better connectivity than that offered by MSP.

Going a step further, American believes that, should Delta not fulfill the terms of its promised service to HND, the carrier should turn over the proposed route to DFW.

The DOT is expected to finalize its decision this summer and has said that should Delta “significantly deviate” from the terms of its proposed service over the next two years, it will consider DFW as a back-up option to serve HND.

[Photo: Tokyo Haneda Airport]

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