Delta Air Lines may lose the right to operate its Seattle-Tokyo Haneda route.
The Atlanta-based airline had suspended service on the route from October until the end of the March, with plans to resume flights during the summer months. Following that announcement, both American Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines petitioned the Department of Transportation, asking that they be allowed to use the slot at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.
On Monday, the DOT ruled that it was opening up the application process for the routes, indicating that Delta may lose its Haneda slot.
“In light of Delta’s extensive winter-season Seattle-Haneda service cutbacks, the submissions of American and Hawaiian and the responses thereto, the Department believes that the public interest requires a fresh examination of whether the best use of the Seattle-Haneda opportunity is to allow Delta to retain the slot pair for Seattle-Haneda service, or whether the public interest would be better served by reallocating the slot pair for service from another U.S. city by another U.S. carrier or by Delta,” the DOT said in its request for applications for the route.
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American had previously held a slot at Haneda, using it for flights out of New York’s JFK airport. However, the airline gave up the slot in 2013, saying that the flight was unprofitable because of the restricted hours on the slot which limited passengers’ options for connecting flights to other Asian destinations.
When it asked the DOT to reexamine Delta’s use of the slot, American said it would use the slot on service out of Los Angeles.
“American will offer daily service, which will better meet demand than Delta’s seasonal offering and will fully use these valuable operating rights. Further, since Los Angeles is a hub for American, its service will provide connections to other U.S. destination,” American argued in its filing.
Currently there are four slots for U.S. airlines to use at Haneda. Hawaiian Airlines operates a Honolulu-Haneda service and United Airlines operates a San Francisco-Haneda route. Delta has two slots, one from Seattle and the other from Los Angeles.