United Airlines Boeing 787-8
United Airlines has been denied a request to take over a nighttime slot pair at Tokyo Haneda International Airport (HND) currently awarded to Hawaiian Airlines.
The Star Alliance member applied to the U.S. Transportation Department (DOT) in September for permission to open a route to the Japanese capital from Guam, the U.S. island territory in the Western Pacific. The airline hoped to provide five flights per week between the destinations.
United’s application sought to take over the nighttime slot pair awarded to Hawaiian—that gives it authority to serve HND four times per week from Honolulu and three times a week from Kona—arguing that Hawaiian was underutilizing the slots. In response, Hawaiian contended that it planned to increase frequencies this winter, returning to daily service by March 2024.
In rejecting United’s request, the DOT said that it has taken note of Hawaiian’s statements that Japanese-originating demand has lagged the return of demand in other markets. “We have also noted Hawaiian’s express commitments to resume full daily utilization of the slot pair before the end of the 2023-24 winter season,” the DOT decision added.
“Against that background, we do not find a basis to conclude that reallocation of the authority is warranted at this stage or that we should specifically direct Hawaiian to resume daily service ahead of its announced plans.”
Despite this, the DOT said it has “decided to take additional steps to ensure that Hawaiian reestablishes its service as it has proposed.” The airline will now be required to report to the department every 60 days its progress towards instituting its proposed HND services.
Additionally, the DOT said the dismissal of United’s application was “without prejudice” and the carrier would be free to resubmit its application should an opportunity arise.
According to data provided by OAG Schedules Analyser, United already serves the Guam-Tokyo market 25 times per week—all of which are to and from Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT). The carrier also flies daily to NRT from Denver, Houston George Bush (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Newark Liberty (EWR), and San Francisco (SFO), as well as 3X-weekly from Saipan. Additionally, United offers daily flights to HND from Chicago O’Hare, EWR, LAX, SFO, and Washington Dulles.
Alongside the Guam request, United is vying with American Airlines to secure slots at HND that Delta Air Lines is relinquishing. This comes after Delta confirmed in late September that it does not intend to utilize the daytime slots it holds for flights from Portland International Airport. United hopes to launch a daily IAH-HND route, while American wants to commence nonstop operations to HND from New York John F. Kennedy International Airport.
On Nov. 3, the DOT invited U.S. carriers to submit their proposals for the daytime U.S.-HND slot pair. It said the principal objective would be to “maximize public benefits,” noting that it would consider the effects of each service on the overall competitive environment, effects on the market structure and on competition in the U.S.-Japan market.
David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.
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DOT Rejects United’s Request For Guam-Tokyo Haneda Slots – Aviation Week
United Airlines Boeing 787-8