Sky Talk

American applies for LAX-Tokyo Haneda

Move over, Delta. American wants your Haneda slot.

On Monday, American officially applied for the right to operate flights between Los Angeles and Tokyo’s Haneda airport. American had filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation last fall saying that Delta was not adequately using its Haneda slot with only seasonal service from Seattle.

So in December, the DOT said it would accept applications for possible service between the U.S. and the airport that is closest to downtown Tokyo. Hawaiian Airlines also submitted an application to the DOT on Monday, proposing daily service between Haneda and Kona, Hawaii.

“American’s proposed Los Angeles-Haneda service will increase competition in the Haneda market and make the most of underutilized operating rights by giving millions of consumers and shippers a new, viable travel option to Haneda that they don’t have today,” said American president Scott Kirby in a statement.

The Fort Worth-based carrier said it would operate the Los Angeles-Haneda route with a Boeing 777-200. American is boosting its presence in Asia, launching service between DFW and Hong Kong and Shanghai last year and expecting to begin service between DFW and Beijing this summer.

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.

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.