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Delta continues Japan pulldown with Fukuoka exit

Delta Air Lines continues to adjust its network to Japan, with plans to exit the Fukuoka market in May.

The SkyTeam Alliance carrier will end its daily service to Fukuoka from Honolulu with a Boeing 767-300ER on 7 May, FlightGlobal schedules data shows. It has served the route since 2011.

The move follows an evaluation of "how to best deploy" aircraft, says Delta. While exiting the Fukuoka market, the airline will return to the Detroit-Honolulu route in June.

In addition, Delta will resume service between Seattle Tacoma and Osaka in April after a six-year hiatus.

Delta's network changes come after years of reductions to Japan. In 2018 it ended service to Guam, Palau and Saipan from its former Tokyo Narita hub.

"We are resizing and re-gauging our Pacific [network] and [we] embarked on that journey many, many years ago," said Glen Hauenstein, president of Delta, in December 2018. "We're in a really good place in the Pacific right now where we like our portfolio… but we always maintain the ability to re-gauge and resize."

The carrier's capacity to Japan is scheduled to increase 1.2% this year after an 11.1% year-on-year reduction in 2018, schedules show.

Delta's exit from the Honolulu-Fukuoka route will leave the market unserved. The airline will continue to serve the Japanese city via its partners, it says.

The Atlanta-based carrier accelerated its capacity reductions in Japan after it entered into an immunised joint venture with Korean Air last May. The US carrier's capacity to Seoul Incheon, Korean Air's base, is scheduled to jump 28.6% this year thanks partly to new service from Minneapolis-Saint Paul beginning in April.

System capacity at Delta will grow roughly 3% in 2019, with an emphasis on international expansion, executives said in December.

Separately, the airline has set a date for its new service to Worcester, Massachusetts, from Detroit. Daily service with a 50-seat Bombardier CRJ200 will begin on 1 August, schedules show.

No carriers fly between Detroit and Worcester currently.

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