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American says it needs more time to launch Tokyo Haneda flights

American Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner begins to take-off for it's inaugural flight at DFW Airport in Texas, Thursday, May 7, 2015. (Star-Telegram/Ron Jenkins)
American Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner begins to take-off for it's inaugural flight at DFW Airport in Texas, Thursday, May 7, 2015. (Star-Telegram/Ron Jenkins) Star-Telegram

American Airlines said it has not started service between Los Angeles and Tokyo Haneda airport because it has not obtained “commercially viable” slots.

The Fort Worth-based carrier asked the Department of Transportation to allow it to hold the slots until the summer to allow American and Japanese officials to negotiate slot times.

“American has tried repeatedly to obtain slot times that are commercially viable,” the filing said. “American has had numerous executives travel to Japan in order to secure slots.”

Last week, Delta Air Lines asked the government to take the slots away from American because American had yet to schedule service to Tokyo Haneda airport as it had promised.

“American apparently has no intention of inaugurating the service as promised,” Delta said in a government filing.

Delta had previously held 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.

In its filing made on Friday, American said it tried to buy slots from another Asian carrier but the deal fell through. It also reiterated that it’s not trying to get daytime slots but only wants nighttime slots that will provide “reasonable schedule and reasonable connectivity” between the two cities.

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 said in its filing that American did not meet a 60-day start-up condition that had been discussed with the DOT.

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.

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