The US Department of Transportation has started accepting applications from US carriers for up to 12 new daytime slot pairs that are expected to open up at Tokyo Haneda International airport.
An order by the department states that recently concluded negotiations on the USA-Japan bilateral are expected to see the additional slots become available to US carriers for the start of the 2020 summer scheduling season.
“On this basis, US carriers would need to file applications with the Japanese authorities for Haneda takeoff and landing slot times by October 2019,” the DOT says.
An earlier application by Delta Air Lines seeking more flexibility on where carriers can fly to in the USA using the Haneda slots has been denied. The DOT says that there will not be enough time to make a determination on that request before it allocates the new slots, and hence will continue to require carriers to use the Haneda slots only for specific routes.
The DOT will primarily assess applications based on maximising public benefits, but will also “consider the effects of each service proposal on the overall competitive environment”.
Daytime slots at Haneda have been tightly contested between US carriers, which have been keen to take advantage of the airport’s proximity to downtown Tokyo compared to the more distant Narita International airport.
FlightGlobal schedules show that Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines use those slots to operate flights to Los Angeles, Honolulu, Kona and San Francisco.
The additional slots come after Tokyo confirmed that it has reached an agreement with the US Air Force to relax some airspace restrictions around Haneda and the Yokata Air Base, which will open up more movements at the airport.