United Airlines is seeking American Airlines’ vacated frequency at Tokyo Haneda International airport for a long sought-after nonstop to San Francisco International, the first application of what is expected to be a fierce battle with other US carriers.
The proposed daily flight would be operated with an aircraft in its fleet and begin in the third quarter of 2014, according to the Chicago-based Star Alliance carrier.
United flies Boeing 747-400, Boeing 777-200 and Boeing 787-8 aircraft across the Pacific.
“With these slots, United will be able to provide convenient daily nonstop flights between our trans-Pacific gateway in San Francisco and the close-in Tokyo Haneda airport,” says Jim Mueller, vice-president of Atlantic and Pacific sales at United.
The airline is seeking a frequency that American Airlines plans to return to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) in December. It plans to end its daily New York John F. Kennedy-Haneda flight on 1 December.
Delta Air Lines and Hawaiian Airlines are expected to seek the frequency as well. Delta chief executive Richard Anderson has said that the airline would like to expand at Haneda, potentially moving its hub to the airport from Narita International in the future. Such a move would require about 25 slots, says the Atlanta-based SkyTeam Alliance carrier.
Hawaiian unsuccessfully applied for one of Delta’s frequencies for a proposed Kona-Haneda nonstop in 2012.
United has sought a Haneda frequency from the DOT for a flight to San Francisco in 2010 and 2012.
US carriers are limited to just four frequencies from Haneda. Delta uses two with nonstops to both Los Angeles International and Seattle Tacoma International airports, and Hawaiian use one to Honolulu International.
The DOT will award the available frequency, however, the timeline is unknown.