Delta Air Lines supports the Department of Transportation’s tentative decision to make US carriers apply for all six of the frequencies open to them at Tokyo Haneda, even if they already hold a frequency.

“This proceeding is unique and unprecedented,” said the Atlanta-based SkyTeam Alliance carrier in a regulatory filing on 5 April. “The opening of the US-Haneda market represents new and distinct opportunities for carriers that are not comparable to the existing routes available. These economic and public interest considerations of nighttime service compared to daytime service to Haneda are, in fact, as different as night and day.”

The six frequencies in question include five during the daytime and one at night that Japanese and US officials agreed to in February.

Delta’s support follows opposition by American Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and United Airlines – all holders of one of the four existing nighttime frequencies at Haneda – to the DOT’s proposed proceeding.

American, Hawaiian and United called such a move unprecedented and a break from previous DOT policy, in separate filings on 29 March.

Delta’s position is likely not altruistic. The airline has argued that it is at a competitive disadvantage to American and United because it lacks a Japanese partner and wants enough frequencies at Haneda to move its entire hub there from Tokyo Narita International airport.

While Delta would have to reapply for the frequency it uses for Los Angeles-Haneda service, it likely sees an opportunity to further expand its footprint at the close-in Tokyo airport if the frequencies held by the other three carriers are up for grabs.

American serves Haneda from Los Angeles, Hawaiian from Honolulu and United from San Francisco.

The DOT proposes temporarily allowing American, Delta, Hawaiian and United to use the daytime frequencies for their existing flights until the proceeding concludes.

Source: Cirium Dashboard