United Airlines has asked for permission to swap its service from Houston to Tokyo Narita for Tokyo Haneda and also to swap one Guam – Tokyo flight from Narita to Haneda.
United Airlines Wants To Add Two New Tokyo Haneda Flights After Delta + Hawaiian Opt To Abandon Planned Service
Faced with a “use it or lose” requirement, Delta Air Lines has relinquished one of its Tokyo Haneda slots from which it had originally planned to operate service rom Portland, Oregon (PDX). The route never took off. First, it was delayed due to the pandemic. Now Delta does not see a viable commercial case for the flight.
Hawaiian Airlines faces a similar issue. It had been granted a slot to operate service to Haneda from Kona (KOA) but that flight also never got off the ground.
With the slot dormancy waiver (dating back to the start of the pandemic) expiring next month, Delta and Hawaiian have relinquished their slots. Unlike American Airlines, which partners with Japan Airlines (JAL), and United Airlines, which closely partners with All Nippon Airways (ANA), Delta and Hawaiian lack partners in Japan, placing an additional burden on the viability of the routes.
United Airlines sent Live And Let’s Fly a filing it sent to the Department of Transportation asking for both of these slots.
New Houston – Haneda Service On United Proposed
First, United proposes new service from Houston to Haneda:
UA7 Houston (IAH) – Tokyo (HND) // dep 12:30PM arr 5:45PM+1 day
UA6 Tokyo (HND) – Houston (IAH) // dep 7:40PM arr 4:30PM
Currently, UA6/7 operate between Narita and Houston and a United spokesperson confirmed that if granted the additional Haneda slot, United would stop operating to NRT from Bush Intercontinental in Houston.
United’s joint venture partner ANA already operates a daily flight from Houston to Haneda.
New Guam – Haneda Service On United Proposed
Second, United proposes new service from Guam to Haneda:
UA848 Guam (GUM) – Tokyo (HND) // dep 7:10PM arr 10:00PM
UA849 Tokyo (HND) – Guam (GUM) // dep 11:55PM arr 4:45AM+1 day
A United spokesperson confirmed that this flight would replace one of the current Guam – Narita flights. Two daily flights to Narita would continue to operate.
The flight time of this service is not ideal, particularly in the eastbound direction, however it would nicely connect with United’s Guam – Honolulu service, UA200, which departs Guam at 6:55 am.
If granted these slots, United will switch out service immediately from Narita to Haneda.
United Has No Immediate Plans To Bring Back Tokyo – Honolulu Nonstop
The Guam connection from Tokyo to Honolulu becomes somewhat more valuable or United flyers because United has no plans to resume its nonstop service rom Tokyo (NRT) to Honolulu (HNL). That service was suspended during the pandemic, placed back in the schedule, but recently pulled without explanation.
ANA, however, services the Narita – Honolulu route with two daily Airbus A380-800s, so there remains a lot of seats between Hawaii and Japan with a United codeshare (ANA also operates a nonstop flight from Honolulu to Haneda).
Net Change: No Extra Seats To Tokyo
The net change of the United proposal would be no additional seats to Japan.
For that reason, Delta or American stand a good chance of being awarded these slots if they are willing to commence new service, such as from New York or Philadelphia or Boston.
But that is unlikely since 1.) American Airlines does not seem to have the planes right now and 2.) Delta already has extensive service to Tokyo from other hubs.
My prediction is United will get these simply because American and Delta won’t lose money now just to keep them.
United wants to fly from Houston to Haneda instead of Narita and also swap one of its three Guam – Narita flights for Guam – Haneda. The US DOT is now reviewing United’s request and will either grant or deny it shortly.