Is American Looking to Launch An LAX to Tokyo Haneda Route?

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American Airlines 777
Photo courtesy of Mark Harkin.

U.S. Routes to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport

Since 2010 there have been four available daily slots for U.S. flights to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. The main reason airlines want to fly to the space strapped Haneda Airport is that it is located much closer to Central Tokyo than the main airport in Narita.

In 2010 when a new treaty with Japan was signed, Delta won two of the four slots to Haneda with flights from Los Angeles and Detroit. American also won one slot with a flight from JFK and Hawaiian won the right to fly there from Honolulu.

Eventually American pulled out and United won their slot for a flight from SFO and Delta petitioned to fly from Seattle instead of Detroit. It is this Seattle flight which American is petitioning against – citing that Delta only has plans to serve the SEA-HND route 17 times between now and March.

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article stating that American claims they would serve LAX-HND daily year-round if given the route. (Competing with ANA & Delta.) They also claim Delta is only serving the route enough to avoid it reverting back to the DOT for reallocation.

With only four slots available, American certainly has a point that every flight to Haneda should be maximized. I also understand Delta’s point that the route isn’t very profitable during the winter, when travel to Japan is much less popualar.

So what do you think? Do you prefer American operating daily flights from L.A. to Haneda or Delta operating occasional flights from Seattle to Haneda? I recently had an opportunity to fly out of Haneda and I can say from experience that it is definittely a much more convenient airport!

With two other carriers already flying the route, I am not sure if it is a good idea to grant it to AA, but it would be nice to redeem Aadvantage miles to fly to Haneda!


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