This is the second such request by American. In October, the Fort Worth-based airline asked the DOT to let it fly the same route using rights held by Delta from Seattle, claiming Delta only flew on a seasonal basis and general under-use of its rights.
In its Oct. 2 initial DOT filing, American claimed Delta was “essentially deserting Seattle” from October through March with only a handful of flights scheduled on its Seattle-Haneda route.
American’s new request is in response to a DOT decision Dec. 15 to re-examine the use of Tokyo slots. Hawaiian Airlines also submitted an application to the DOT today, proposing daily, nonstop service between Kona, Hawaii, and Haneda.
Under a U.S.-Japan bilateral agreement, U.S. airlines can operate a total of four daily round-trip flights at Haneda. That service is now provided by: Delta from Los Angeles and Seattle; Hawaiian Airlines from Honolulu; and United Airlines from San Francisco.
With such limited U.S. airline service, “it is imperative that American be allowed to compete,” American president Scott Kirby said in a statement. “We are the only U.S. global network carrier without the authority to operate our own aircraft at Haneda.”
Kirby also said American’s proposed service would increase competition in the Haneda market and make the most of the underutilized operating rights.
Los Angeles is the largest continental U.S. gateway to Tokyo and demand in the Los Angeles-Tokyo market is almost five times greater than Seattle-Tokyo, American said. The airline already flies nearly 200 daily departures from Los Angeles.
The unions representing American’s 25,000 flight attendants and about 15,000 pilots support the airline’s proposal for the Los Angeles-Tokyo route. American would fly Boeing 777-200 jets, which are undergoing retrofitting to refresh the cabins and enhance the travel experience, on the proposed route.
American is encouraging customers and employees to show their support of its proposed Los Angeles-Tokyo service by contacting the DOT via a special web page.
(Sheryl Jean - The Dallas Morning News)