Fight over landing rights in Tokyo heats up: American, Hawaiian seek to take route from Delta

Associated Press

The competition is heating up for a U.S.-Japan route currently controlled by Delta Air Lines Inc.

American Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines say they applied to the U.S. Department of Transportation for the so-called slot or landing right at Tokyo's Haneda Airport. They say Delta isn't fully using the slot since reducing flights between Seattle and Haneda in October.

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Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines Group Inc., which lodged a similar protest last fall, said Monday that it wants to fly daily nonstops between Los Angeles and Haneda. Hawaiian, owned by Hawaiian Holdings Inc., proposed to fly daily to Tokyo from Kona, Hawaii.

The Transportation Department said last month that it would review the issue. Monday was the deadline for other airlines to submit bids for the slot. Delta has asked the government to drop the review.

Delta and United dominate service among U.S. airlines to Japan, which has long been limited by an agreement between both governments. U.S. airlines are allowed to operate four daily flights to Haneda Airport. Delta goes there from Seattle and Los Angeles and Seattle; United Airlines flies from San Francisco; and Hawaiian flies from Honolulu.

Haneda landing slots are coveted because many business travelers prefer to fly there, which is closer to downtown than Tokyo's other major airport, Narita.