The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has tentatively approved five available daytime slot pairs for U.S. carriers to operate to/from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.
Tokyo-Haneda has become a popular and coveted airport to fly to as it is located closely to the city compared to Narita which is a good 90 Minutes away. About 5 years ago the international traffic at Haneda began to increase with more and more longhaul flights operating to all parts of the world.
The DOT published the docket with the slot allocation proceedings yesterday.
Key to the amendment of the Open Skies Agreement is the following:
The amendment to the Agreement replaces the existing Annex section on operations at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (Haneda). The four existing U.S. carrier nighttime slot pairs will become daytime slot pairs (i.e., available between 0600 and 2255 hours local time). In addition, a fifth daytime slot pair and one new nighttime/early morning (i.e., between 2200 and 0655 hours local time) slot pair (nighttime slot pair) will become available for U.S. carrier scheduled passenger service to and from Haneda.
In order to balance the slots as fair and evenly as possible the DOT made the choice to allocate:
- American Airlines: Los Angeles – Haneda
- Delta: Los Angeles-Haneda & Minneapolis St. Paul – Haneda
- United: San Francisco – Haneda
- Hawaiian: Honolulu – Haneda
Delta will profit with two routes while the remaining three carriers will receive one slot each. I’m surprised about the frequency that Los Angeles is being served and can’t help but wonder if the airlines will cut back capacity from the Narita route at some point. Not only do the U.S. carrier compete with Japan Airlines and ANA on this route but Singapore Airlines operates with A380 equipment between LAX and Narita.
For travelers and residents it’s much more convenient to fly to Haneda instead of Narita providing they live in the Metropolitan area. Passengers that live in the Chiba region will likely still prefer Narita Airport.
In a few weeks I’m doing quite a bit of traveling and will use both of these airports at least twice. More competition will have an effect on the airfares even though we are pretty much at a low point right now with fares eventually going back up again.