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With Delta no longer wishing to fly between Portland and Tokyo Haneda, the US Department of Transport (DoT) has the responsibility of deciding which airline should operate the vacant Haneda slot and it looks like we now have two interested parties.
Following United’s announcement (yesterday) that it has applied to the DoT to operate a service between Houston and Tokyo Haneda, American Airlines has now stepped up and confirmed that it has applied to operate a new service between New York JFK and Haneda.
If American was to be successful in its application, this is what the schedule would look like:
New York JFK 10:00 – 13:05+1 day Tokyo Haneda
Tokyo Haneda 15:05 – 15:10 New York JFK
The airline says that it would operate the route using its Boeing 777-200 aircraft and that the service would run year-round.
Molly Wilkinson, American’s Vice President of Regulatory and International Government Affairs gave the following quote:
“American looks forward to presenting our competitive application to provide new and enhanced service to Tokyo’s convenient Haneda Airport. This will be the only nonstop service from JFK to Tokyo operated by a U.S. airline. Joining American’s existing flights from Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles, JFK to Tokyo service adds an East Coast gateway for flights to Haneda, while offering the largest metropolitan area in the U.S. more options for travel to one of the most important business hubs in the world.”
American’s oneworld partner Japan Airlines (JAL) already operates two daily services between Haneda and JFK so if American was to win the right to operate this route, it wouldn’t really be a new option for flyers. Ordinarily, this would probably factor into the DoT’s thinking when it comes to deciding which airline should get the vacant slot, but in this case, in may not.
The only other applicant for this Haneda slot (United) is also requesting to replicate a route offered by one of its partners (ANA operates a daily service between Houston and Haneda), so the fact that JAL already offers flights between JFK and Haneda may not be as big an issue for American as it could have been.
For reference, this is what JAL’s winter schedule looks like on the JFK – Haneda route:
JL3 JFK 00:35 – 05:10+1 day HND
JL5 JFK 13:30 – 16:35+1 day HND
JL6 HND 11:05 – 11:05 JFK
JL4 HND 18:35 – 18:35 JFK
American’s application to the DoT notes that “The new flight will complement existing frequencies operated by American’s partner, Japan Airlines, providing more convenient arrival and departure times in New York City and optimal connections across Japan and Asia with one stop in Tokyo. American’s application is the only accretive service between the United States and Japan proposed by a U.S. carrier.”
Given the choice of flying with JAL or with American I know which I’d choose (it’s not really a difficult choice to make), but should American be successful with this application, it looks like its schedule will dovetail quite nicely with JAL’s and flyers will have a genuine 3rd option.
American Airlines has joined United Airlines in applying to the United States Department of Transport to operate the Haeda slot that fell vacant when Delta pulled its service from Portland. Both American and United are replicating services already offered by partner airlines so it will be interesting to see what the DoT’s decision will be. It will also be interesting to see if Delta makes a late bit to keep the slot for itself.