Not long ago, I reported on United and American going after an abandoned Delta Haneda slot. United even went after Hawaiian’s under-utilized Haneda slot. Of course both went into the requests full of confidence, but it appears that American got the Haneda slot, not United.
As you’ll recall, late last year, United Airlines filed an application for Delta’s abandoned Haneda slot. This particular slot was intended to be for Delta’s Portland, Oregon to Tokyo Haneda, but they didn’t really operate the service, and finally gave it up. United sought to take this slot and use it for a route from Houston. Of course, soon after, American decided it wanted to try the for the route, too, submitting an application to operate flights from New York JFK. Then, United doubled down and went after Hawaiian’s Kona-Haneda slot, claiming under-utilization, seeking to operate a Guam-Haneda flight.
American Got the Haneda Slot
Obviously, as the title of this post states, American got the Haneda slot, but the question is why. You see, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is responsible for managing the slots assigned to the U.S. by the Japanese government, and they make their assignments based on the greatest benefit to the American public. In this case, the DOT determined that American’s proposal would bring the most competition to U.S.-based carriers and provide the greatest benefit to the traveling public.
It’s worth noting that American will be the only U.S.-based carrier operating on the route. ANA and American’s joint-venture partner, Japan Airlines also fly the route, but the only other domestic competition in the area is United’s Newark-Haneda service.
Another factor that likely influenced the DOT’s decision is the fact that American has far fewer slots than United and Delta. At the moment, Delta has six slots, while United has five. Now that American got the Haneda slot, they now have four. Of course, Hawaiian has three slots – two for Honolulu and one for Kona, though their Kona slot is still under attack.
American’s new JFK-HND service joins their existing DFW-HND and twice-daily LAX-HND service. That said, they don’t give a formal timeline for when the service will commence. Their press release states that they’ll start service in the “coming months.” When they do begin service, American will utilizes its Boeing 777-200ER and 777-300ER, as indicated by their initial application.
As I mentioned previously, this isn’t the first time American has operated JFK-HND. Their last foray into the route ended in December 2013. Will this attempt go any better? I guess, only time will tell. What I want to know more is what the hell is going on with Hawaiian’s slot, as they’re only operating it about once every week-and-a-half or so. Personally, I think that’s under-utilization, but it’s also the only international route operated from an airport that isn’t Honolulu in Hawaii.