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Delta asks DOT to revoke American’s slots to Tokyo Haneda

In a complaint to the DOT, Delta says American isn’t using its slots at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and should have to give them up.
In a complaint to the DOT, Delta says American isn’t using its slots at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and should have to give them up.

It looks like Delta Air Lines wants its Tokyo Haneda slots back.

In a filing made on Thursday with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Delta said the government should revoke American Airlines’ rights to those Haneda slots because American has yet to schedule any flights to the airport that is closest to Tokyo’s downtown.

“American has failed to file any schedules or make available for sale any Los Angeles-Haneda flights,” the filing said. “American apparently has no intention of inaugurating the service as promised.”

Since American isn’t using the slots, Delta argues that the slots should be returned to the government and made available to other carriers. Delta gave up the slot to fly from Seattle to Tokyo Haneda back to the DOT in June and flew its last flight between the two cities on September 30.

American has been working with U.S. and Japanese authorities to begin operating flights between Los Angeles and Tokyo Haneda. The Fort Worth-based carrier has yet to publish any flight schedules or make flights available for sale to the public, although it sometimes takes several weeks to obtain specific take-off and landing times at a foreign airport.

“We will respond as required with the Department of Transportation and we are still working through the process to obtain slots,” American spokesman Matt Miller said on Friday.

American had complained to the DOT last year that Delta was not adequately using its Haneda slot by operating only seasonal service from Seattle. After launching an investigation, the DOT decided this spring that if Delta did not meet minimum service requirements, American would get the slot.

When Delta gave back its slots in mid-June, American was then given the slots. However, the slots could not be used until October 1. Delta says American did not meet a 60-day start-up condition that had been discussed with the DOT.

“Given the strict conditions imposed on Delta, it would be unfair, arbitrary and capricious to allow American to violate the terms of its backup award and retain slots for Los Angeles-Haneda service that it has no intention of operating within the next 60 days,” Delta said in the filing.

American previously held a slot at Haneda, using it for flights out of New York. However, the airline gave up the slot in 2013, saying it was unprofitable because of the restricted hours, which limited options for connecting flights to other Asian destinations.

Currently there are four slots for U.S. airlines to use at Haneda. Hawaiian Airlines operates Honolulu-Haneda service and United Airlines operates a San Francisco-Haneda route. Delta had two slots, one from Seattle and the other from Los Angeles.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk