Delta Gives Up Their Seattle To Haneda Route After All

It’s been an interesting battle between Delta and their competitors regarding their authority to operate a flight to Tokyo’s Haneda airport.  It’s a more desirable airport since it’s closer to downtown and also has a lot of connecting flight.

On Thursday, after putting up a long fight, Delta announced it is giving up on the Seattle-Haneda route:

“Delta has determined that its Seattle-Haneda service is not viable under the current regulatory and market conditions, and therefore will suspend service. The last flight departing Seattle-Tacoma International Airport will be on Sept. 28, 2015, and the last flight from Haneda will depart on Sept. 30, 2015,” Delta spokesman Trebor Banstetter said Thursday. “After those operations, Delta will return the slot to the Department of Transportation.”

He said the airline “remains committed to our international hub in Seattle, and will continue to provide Seattle-Tokyo service via our daily nonstop service to Tokyo-Narita. In addition, Delta will continue to serve Tokyo-Haneda from Los Angeles International Airport.”

Delta put up a valiant fight and kinda won/kinda lost after challenged by American and others about their schedule to operate the Seattle-Haneda route.  They were essentially operating the route just frequently enough to skirt the DOT rules about dormancy.

Part of the problem with expanding service to Haneda for the US airlines is that there hasn’t been a whole lot of reduction in service to Tokyo’s other major airport, Narita.  Delta obviously didn’t think it could profitably fill all the flights they have scheduled to Tokyo.

That’s a good bet, as American will likely lose money on the flight for at least a little while.  American has a much smaller network than United and Delta to Asia and also has less connecting alliance traffic to help fill those flights.  They’ll also be competing with ANA and Delta on the LAX-Haneda route.

I was a bit surprised to see that American was awarded the route seemingly by default.  Hawaiian earlier had petitioned to operate service to Haneda from Kona.  That lead me to do a bit of research and find this One Mile at a Time post which covered the DOT decision back in March.  There’s a link to a DOT statement that indicates, in part:

DOT selected American Airlines’ proposal to provide Los Angeles-Haneda service as a backup should Delta fail to meet its requirements in serving the Seattle market.

That’s a very expeditious way to handle things (and somewhat un-DOT like).

It’ll be interesting to see what the load factors look like across the board 6 months after the new route is established.

For now, American has “won” the battle but it’s not entirely clear whether that’s a good thing or not for them.

The post Delta Gives Up Their Seattle To Haneda Route After All was published first on Pizza In Motion.

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