American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines and United Airlines have applied for a slot pair between the USA and Tokyo's Haneda airport with the US Department of Transportation (DOT).
The DOT requested the applications after Delta submitted a request to shift the US gateway of its existing Detroit to Haneda route authority to Seattle in July.
American applied for Los Angeles to Haneda, Hawaiian for Kona to Haneda and United for San Francisco to Haneda, in filings with the DOT on 27 August.
Atlanta-based Delta says in a filing that it should be allowed to switch the US gateway because both United and American have joint venture alliances with All Nippon Airways and Japan Air Lines, which operate additional frequencies between Haneda and the USA that are not governed by the DOT process, while it does not have a partner. In addition, it says that passengers could connect to 42 cities in the USA through Seattle on Delta and its partner Alaska Airlines.
The airline proposes to operate a 225-seat Boeing 767-300ER on the route and could start service within 90 days but would prefer to start on 31 March 2013. It would continue to operate its once daily flight between Seattle and Tokyo Narita.
Fort Worth, Texas-based American says that it needs the Los Angeles route authority to compete with the Star Alliance and Delta, who both offer nonstops to Haneda from the city. Los Angeles is the largest originating and departing market for Japanese travellers in the USA.
The carrier proposes to operate a 247-seat Boeing 777-200 on the route and could begin service within 90 days. It would offer connections to 25 cities through Los Angeles, it says.
Honolulu-based Hawaiian proposes to operate a 294-seat Airbus A330-200 between Kona and Haneda, and could start flights on or around 15 March 2013. The flight would cater to Japanese visitors who currently do not have nonstop access to Kona.
Chicago-based United says that it would offer the most benefit to passengers with connections to up to 55 destinations in the USA possible through its San Francisco hub. It is the only US carrier applying for the slot pair that does not serve Haneda.
The airline proposes to operate a 269-seat 777-200 on the route and could start service within 90 days. It would continue to operate once daily between San Francisco and Narita if awarded the slot pair, it says.
American flies from New York's John F. Kennedy to Haneda, Delta from Detroit and Los Angeles, and Hawaiian from Honolulu currently.