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Old Apr 26, 16, 5:12 pm
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Originally Posted by Longboater View Post
Awarding a carrier three slots that has previously given up HND slots not once but twice? While HAL/UA should be commended for operating HND flights consistently since their respective start dates, HAL's HND flight fills the niche of Hawai'i-Japan traffic. The sole HNL-HND flight is sufficient for the market. UA will likely keep SFO-HND daytime but with NH receiving four slots, including three daytime, Star Alliance will have four daytime. JAL will want to keep SFO-HND and then either ORD-HND or JFK-HND.

And that leaves AA/DL to fight over the remainder. I don't see a valid reason why DL should be awarded all three daytime slots they applied for while they previously have abused their HND slots in the past and were responsible for holding up this entire deal in the first place. In fact, they were the only airline to call for all of the slots to be put up for allocation again, over the objections of UA/AA/HAL. Is DL at a competitive disadvantage? Yes, absolutely. Should they be properly compensated with THREE day time slots after this tomfoolery of the impossible goal of shifting their entire NRT operation to HND and threatening to further gut their NRT operation because they did not get what they want? No, not at all. MSP is unfortunate in that DL is using the Twin Cities as a pawn to prove to DOT that daytime slot restricted HND flying is bad for business as I mentioned earlier, MSP-NRT is toast if DL doesn't get want they want.

UA/AA/HAL have been the most serious and professional players since HND opened international operations to the US five years ago. DL has done nothing but whine and complain to DOT, demanding to both DOT and Japan's MLIT to allow the total transfer of DL's NRT operation to HND. DL could have made this slot allocation round far less political if instead of using MSP as a pawn, apply for JFK-HND. Had they applied for JFK-HND, in addition to LAX-HND and ATL-HND, I'd say there would be a decent chance DOT would give them the authority to operate all three routes.

In the end, I think UA receives SFO-HND daytime, HAL's HNL-HND remains as is, DL receives daytime LAX-HND and ATL-HND, and AA will receive LAX-HND and DFW-HND. While AA tried to make JFK-HND work several years ago, the night slots for the East coast, combined with using a high CASM 777 with an outmoded configuration and product, it never had a real chance of becoming profitable. AA's application for daytime LAX-HND and DFW-HND is very strong. AA's recent addition of LAX-HND has posted excellent load factors, especially considering they are competing with DL with very similar timings. Last month alone, AA recorded a near 95% load factor on the flight. While yes, the flight is utilising their smallest aircraft, the 787-8, they lobbied hard twice for this flight and just in the first two months of operation, its load factors beat EVERY SINGLE HND flights' load factors.
I agree with most of what you say about DL. The biggest thing I disagree with in your post is AA getting DFW-HND over UA's EWR-HND. The DOT tried to split the slots up by giving every JV an almost equal number of flights, and it did not end up working out. UA originally had none, but it became (arguably) the strongest performer once it received the slot. The DOT also knows that NYC has more O&D than everywhere except LA (maybe SFO as well), and it should have at least one flight. It can't assume ANA/JAL will provide that flight, because it has not been announced and until it is announced, it is theoretically possible NYC does not receive a flight. Along with this, no other proposed flight is in the Northeast or within a 750 mi radius of NYC. This is partially why AA earned JFK-HND over UA's SFO-HND when slots were originally handed out. There is actually a pretty good chance ANA will operate the only flight to NYC should UA not get the EWR slot. It makes more sense for JAL to operate HND-ORD over JFK (assuming they keep SFO) because of AA's much larger hub at ORD. AA/JL currently operate the same number of daily seats between ORD-NRT and JFK-NRT, which demonstrates just how important ORD is (as it has much fewer O&D passengers). Because of all of this, I think the DOT will reluctantly give UA an EWR flight.
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