Is Delta getting rid of NRT(Tokyo) hub?

Old Dec 14, 09, 8:05 am
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Is Delta getting rid of NRT(Tokyo) hub?

There are numerous members on this forum who have posted on various unrelated threads that they think Delta is getting rid of Tokyo as a hub. They have said this may be one of the reasons that award availability to Asia is so horrible right now. Here are my questions so I can educate myself:

1. Has DL officially announced they are getting rid of NRT as a hub?

2. If not, what makes you think they are? How would it benefit DL?

3. If they do get rid of NRT, then will destinations like BKK, SIN, MNL, KIX, SGN etc simply be served direct from places like LAX, SEA, DTW??

Last edited by Winkdaddy; Dec 14, 09 at 8:44 am
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Old Dec 14, 09, 8:14 am
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I hope not, but if they did I am screwed getting an award ticket to TPE next year.
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Old Dec 14, 09, 8:26 am
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DL has not announced anything close to resembling "getting rid of the NRT hub".
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Old Dec 14, 09, 8:36 am
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Delta is not getting rid of the Tokyo hub. It's a very important asset to the airline. While they might be using it differently than NW did (to transfer mainly American passengers rather than Asian ones), any rumor that Delta will be getting rid of NRT is stemming from disgruntled NW passengers with their own theories.
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Old Dec 14, 09, 8:43 am
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Originally Posted by AirlineDeregulation View Post
Delta is not getting rid of the Tokyo hub. It's a very important asset to the airline. While they might be using it differently than NW did (to transfer mainly American passengers rather than Asian ones), any rumor that Delta will be getting rid of NRT is stemming from disgruntled NW passengers with their own theories.
Ok. I have just seen tons of comments here and there from a decent amount of people who feel that the hub may be going away. I was looking to see if there was any solid eveidence that this could happen, but perhaps it is just rumors.
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Old Dec 14, 09, 8:43 am
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When NW ordered the 787s, it was NW's desire to rely less on NRT as a hub by directly flying to destinations in Asia from the US. So if anything, it is an NW idea.
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Old Dec 14, 09, 8:53 am
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Isn't NRT pretty severly slot limited? So, a strategy that makes the most of the slots that NW has and its "fifth freedom" rights to take passengers starting their travel at NRT to beyond Asian destinations and at the same time using the correct airplanes to fly point-to-point from some US cities directly to Asia might make sense for the larger DL. I recall reading somewhere that NW was distinctive in having so many fifth freedom rights from NRT. Do UA and AA have similar rights at NRT or other Asian airports?

Detailed explanation of the freedoms from US DOT -- http://ostpxweb.dot.gov/aviation/Data/freedoms.htm
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Old Dec 14, 09, 8:53 am
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DL has not announced anything to that effect.

They will keep the NRT hub. There are many ultra long haul and second tier destinations in Asia which cannot profitably served non-stop from the US.

This could all change if the 787 turns out to be a success at running long, thin routes, but that day is a long way off.
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Old Dec 14, 09, 9:37 am
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I would say near term the only change you might see is downsizing planes on the numerous 744 routes out of NRT. There could also be some major changes with Intra-Asia flights if JL joins Sky Team. We should know more about JL in a couple weeks.
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Old Dec 14, 09, 9:59 am
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Originally Posted by mot29 View Post
Isn't NRT pretty severly slot limited?
Yes, but under the new Open Skies agreement, the number of NRT slots will be expanded (after the completion of the runway construction). The percentage of slots held by US carriers will decline, however, from 28% currently to 25% after the expansion.

Originally Posted by mot29 View Post
I recall reading somewhere that NW was distinctive in having so many fifth freedom rights from NRT. Do UA and AA have similar rights at NRT or other Asian airports?
Under the post-war air treaty (1952), both NW and Pan Am were granted fifth freedom rights - UA then bought Pan Am's Japanese rights.

AA has no fifth freedom rights in Japan (or anywhere else in Asia) that I can think of.

The new Open Skies agreement expands grants unlimited fifth freedoms to all airlines (in Japan and the US), so the fifth freedoms of UA and DL just lost some of their value.
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Old Dec 14, 09, 10:01 am
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Originally Posted by AirlineDeregulation View Post
Delta is not getting rid of the Tokyo hub. It's a very important asset to the airline. While they might be using it differently than NW did (to transfer mainly American passengers rather than Asian ones), any rumor that Delta will be getting rid of NRT is stemming from disgruntled NW passengers with their own theories.
This sums it up. Basically, there are a few grumpy folks that like to leap at any change as a sign that DL is intent on dismantling NW. I wouldn't read too much into their grumbling, nor would I read too much into any cancellations or schedule adjustments over the past year, as TPAC traffic was hit really, really hard this year.

Now, over the long-term, I would think that DL might reduce reliance on NRT as a connecting point. I know I read somewhere that DL has stated that stand-alone Asia traffic was pretty much negligible, and that only connecting traffic kept many of those routes afloat. If that is true, then I could conceive of a scenario where DL seeks to push some of those connections to SEA or LAX or elsewhere if they had the aircraft and the demand, and if the economics were favorable. But, I don't see that happening in the near-term.

I would think that (assuming Asia and TPAC traffic recovers) NRT would have a place as a connecting point for some destinations that can't support a lot of non-stop, ex-US flights, even over the long-term. I would think that DL would seek to grow capacity with any overflights, rather than just replacing what they have now.

The other wild-cards would be if they either got the JL deal done, where they may shift much of the intra-Asia flying to them, or if they did a TPAC JV deal with KE, where you might see ICN begin to supplant NRT as an Asian connecting point.
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Old Dec 14, 09, 10:38 am
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If and when Delta gets access to HND via JL, I would expect to see NRT's importance in Delta's system reduced significantly.
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Old Dec 14, 09, 11:22 am
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DL should leverage the huge presence of Skyteam partners in Asia. Code-sharing with Skyteam partners at NRT is the most cost-effective way.
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Old Dec 14, 09, 11:27 am
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Originally Posted by FlyingForEternity View Post
If and when Delta gets access to HND via JL, I would expect to see NRT's importance in Delta's system reduced significantly.
Its far from a done deal that DL is getting anything from JL other than competition.
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Old Dec 14, 09, 11:31 am
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The other day I probably had the worst transit (both ways) to and from Singapore that I've ever had at NRT. Maybe because I usually fly from PDX or SEA and this time I came on the 744 from MSP. But clearing that little security check (the one that's not really needed in my opinion) was a nightmare (both ways) huge lines going way down the hallway leading up to the security check. People yelling at the Japanese residents/visitors who were just trying to stay to the left as they were told to do to exit or for immigration or domestic connections, thinking that they were trying to "cut" in line. The gates were a total mess, no time to visit the beer machines either way ;-(

At the gates they were trying to line people up on both sides of the breezway with their little colored copy signs that said "Business", and "Rows 57-69". This made NO sense as suddenly you had 300 people jamming the area trying to get lined up. It was like a Japanese game show gone horribly wrong.

What happened to not approching the podium until they're boarding your row/section. I'm shocked at what a horrifically awful time we had as four business elite travelers transiting both ways. Standing in completely mobbed lines at multiple points of the operation. It was a total and complete mess.

This is the first time in years and years that I ever got on the plane and was happy go take off and leave the NRT mess behind.

I dont know if there was some underlying issue, or multiple flights that are normally staggered a bit in their arrival times suddenly showed up at once. If I had to endure this situation again, I'd choose SEA-PEK or SEA-KIX, or SEA-ICN (KE), or SEA-DTW-PVG to avoid this mess.

I hope other people's transits through NRT lately have been more pleasant. Perhaps we just hit it on some weird days. I did long for my favorite SkyClub and the beer machine, but there simply was NO time left after the "security" nightmarish lines.
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