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Delta Air Lines Gets Nod From DOT for Service to HND

Delta’s Minneapolis/St. Paul service to Japan gets the nod, beating United Continental, American and Hawaiian to take the very last daytime slot at Haneda.

It seems that the four-way tussle for the last daytime slot at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (HND) may be over.

In the spring, a new air-service agreement between the U.S. and Japan was announced. This was a move that saw four American carriers swap their nighttime slots to cover five daytime slots at HND.

With just a single daytime slot left to allocate, over the past few months, the competition between United Continental, Hawaiian, American and Delta has been heated. However, based on an initial decision made by the U.S. Department of Transport (DOT) last week, the latter carrier has emerged victorious.

Effective October 30, Delta will now operate two daytime flights from the U.S. to HND. In addition to continuing its service from Los Angeles to HND, it will also be adding a route from Minneapolis/St. Paul.

The DOT explained its decision in a statement, saying, “With the proposed selection, the Department sought to maximize public benefits based on the carriers that offered and could maintain the best ongoing service between the U.S. and Tokyo.”

The thinking is that Delta’s Minneapolis/St. Paul route, while closest to Tokyo, would also serve as a convenient hub for passengers connecting from the Midwest and Northeast regions.

Delta beat out American’s Dallas-Fort Worth route proposal as well as a proposed Newark service from United.

There have been a fair few changes to U.S. services to HND over the last six years, with all four carriers struggling to grapple with inconvenient arrival or departure times. At the moment, American, like Delta, flies into HND from LA while United Continental and Hawaiian serve San Francisco and Honolulu, respectively.

This outcome was particularly fortuitous for Hawaiian, which not only acquired a daytime slot, but reportedly the ability to add on services between Kona, Honolulu and Haneda.

The DOT, however, has said that the decision to award Delta is tentative. “We expect to make a final decision later this summer, so please stay tuned,” it advised.

[Photo: Japanese Search]

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