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The Fight for Tokyo Routes Is On (Again)

An often bitter contest between the big-three U.S. carriers to secure rights to Tokyo routes has reheated with all three legacy carriers rushing to make their best case to earn a limited number of coveted spots at Haneda Airport (HND), just in time for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games set to kick off in late July of next year.

The contentious battle for Tokyo renewed this week with the big three legacy carriers all announcing plans for new routes to Haneda Airport (HND). American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines have each proposed a number of new HND routes from their busiest hubs.

In the not-so-distant past, the bidding process for a limited number of highly coveted Tokyo slots has resulted in finger-pointing and even accusations of outright fraud among the competing carriers. In addition to accusing rival carriers of misrepresentations in order to win slots, airlines have repeatedly accused each other of failing to honor commitments to actually fly the routes they were awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Now, each of the three largest airlines in the world simultaneously released competing plans to capture a limited number of new slots available at HND as part of an agreement between U.S. and Japanese officials to make 12 new daytime routes available to U.S. airlines.

American Airlines has applied to offer additional routes to HND from its Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) hubs. The company also plans to add expanded non-stop service between HND and Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS).

“Tokyo is an important hub for our Pacific Joint Business with Japan Airlines,” American Airlines President Robert Isom said of the company’s latest bid. “Enhanced service at Haneda would give our customers better access to downtown Tokyo and open up JAL’s domestic network with flights to destinations like Osaka, Sapporo and Fukuoka.”

United has proposed to serve HND with new routes from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), LAX and Guam Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport (GUM). The airline already operates daily flights between those hubs and Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT). United officials say the carrier would move existing daily nonstop Chicago O’ Hare International Airport (ORD), Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) flights from NRT to instead serve HND as well.

“If awarded by the DOT, these new nonstop flights would expand United’s best-in-class Japan route network to better meet demand from U.S. consumers and businesses,” United Airlines President Scott Kirby said. “Tokyo is a hub of 21st century global commerce and innovation and one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. Today’s filing demonstrates United’s unparalleled commitment to helping more Americans travel between our nation and Japan’s capital city. Our proposed flights to Tokyo Haneda will offer an unrivaled experience and maximize choice and convenience for our customers traveling between the United States and Tokyo for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and beyond.”

Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines proposed that it be granted new HND routes serving five U.S. airports. The prospective new routes include flights from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW), Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Portland International Airport (PDX) and Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL).

“Delta has served the U.S. to Japan market for over 70 years, and today offers seven daily departures from Tokyo with connections to over 150 destinations across the U.S and Latin America,” the Atlanta-based airline said in a statement announcing its proposal to the DOT. “The airline will launch new service in April between Seattle and Osaka in partnership with Korean Air. Additionally, last year, Delta began partnering with Michelin consulting chef Norio Ueno to create meals for all cabins of service for flights to and from Japan.”

[Source: Flickr/t-mizo]

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Dr.Ells March 1, 2019

United Airlines Pres. Scott Kirby? Please, say it isn't so! It doesn't take an Ivy League Ph.D. to proofread. How humiliating!