It’s only been a few months since Delta gave up their Haneda slots to American Airlines, with quite a bit of “encouragement” from the DOT. And, Delta’s last flight serving the Seattle-Haneda route was just a few days ago on September 30th.
That’s why I thought it was kind of humorous that Delta has already petitioned the DOT to take the slots back because American hasn’t flown the route yet or offered flights for sale.
American has failed to file schedules or sell tickets yet for flights on that route within the government’s requirement to start service within 60 days of receiving route authority, Delta said Thursday in a filing with the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“American apparently has no intention of inaugurating the service as promised,” Delta said in the filing. Atlanta-based Delta wants the route returned to the government and reopened for general bidding.
The thing is, even though I think it’s a bit nitty on Delta’s part to petition the DOT to yank the slots, the DOT kinda brought this on themselves. Delta was technically meeting the letter of the law when they were pushed by the DOT to either increase frequency or give up the route. But, it seemed DOT thought they weren’t acting in the spirit of those regulations.
While I can’t find anything that required American to begin offering service on October 1st, they did clearly promise they would launch service 60 days after the DOT granted them the authority. While there are legitimate reasons why they haven’t (it takes time to put together a route like that) the DOT paved the way for Delta to squawk the moment that American didn’t launch on time.
The quotes from American don’t lay out a date for the service to start, rather focusing on the fact that they’re still trying to get slots worked out. Since American doesn’t operate Haneda service now it’s not surprising they’re having trouble getting all the pieces in place to launch the route.
My crystal ball is in the shop this week, but if I was a betting man I still think American will launch LAX-Haneda service. Given that some of the times for current Haneda service aren’t the greatest I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some shuffling by other airlines to get better times.
At any rate, it’s another interesting chapter for an airport that I doubt has generated all that much in the way of profit for US-based airlines.