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.