American, Hawaiian, Delta Tenatively Awarded Routes to Tokyo Haneda Airport

The Department of Transportation tentatively awarded new routes to Tokyo Haneda Airport to American (from JFK), Hawaiian (from Honolulu) and Delta (from Detroit and Los Angeles).  Haneda, which more typically serves domestic travel, is a bit of a holy grail for airlines flying to Tokyo as it’s only 10 miles from the city center.  Narita, on the other hand, is 40 miles and a 90 minute trip away (imagine if New York’s primary airport were located in Trenton, and suddenly LaGuardia had spots available.)

The decision shuns United & Continental, which had separately applied for slots.  The DoT’s decision basically could not have ignored Delta because of its incredibly strong presence in Tokyo (due to its Northwest acquisition).  It threw a bone to American to make up for Oneworld’s relatively week Asian presence.  And gave Hawaiian the nod because it wanted a new entrant to have an opportunity to fly to the airport.  Continental, especially because of its deep ties to the region through its Micronesia operation, has to be annoyed/disappointed.


  1. I don’t get the award to Hawaiian. Won’t that primarily benefit Japanese tourists to Hawaii, instead of AMERICAN travellers? And why do leisure travellers really need the ultra-convenient access? Seems to me that their slot should have gone to CO/UA.

  2. It really seems like they made a conscious decision to exclude CO/UA. I get wanting a new entrant, and HA satisfies that, but CO has decades of history serving the region. Perhaps they felt that a CO/UA combo was already too strong.

  3. If they thought CO/UA was too strong, why did they give 2 routes to DL? I’m pretty sure DL is the number 1 US airline to Japan. And why give NYC-Haneda to American over CO? American has relatively little connecting traffic at JFK. CO has a huge hub at EWR.

    This Administration keeps issuing aviation rulings that just seem clueless — and unpredictable. God only knows what they’ll do with the CO/UA merger. Maybe they’ll make them divest gates in some spoke city. :)

  4. It does make me wonder whether that merger is actually going to sail through…