Topic of the Week: Who Should Get Tokyo/Haneda Slots?

American, Hawaiian, United

American has thrown in the towel on its JFK to Tokyo/Haneda flight and will be handing the slots back. So far, there are two airlines that are interested. United wants to fly from SFO (it has none to Haneda today) while Hawaiian wants to fly from Kona (it flies from Honolulu to Haneda today). So, who should get it?

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29 comments on “Topic of the Week: Who Should Get Tokyo/Haneda Slots?

  1. My thought based on pretty well everyone giving up on their HND slots, especially since they are at pretty horrible times, that a leisure route would actually have a chance at surviving long term. So I say Kona with HA.

    1. I’m an expat who lives in Tokyo and I can tell you that those “pretty horrible times” are actually very convenient. You finish work, go home, pick-up your luggage and go straight to the airport (which is 20 minutes from downtown). You fly out close to midnight and (for example) arrive on the West Coast of the US in the afternoon. Flying back to Japan is the same, but you arrive at 5:00 AM having the full work day ahead of you. ANA has made it work so I think that United can make it work as well.

  2. To me that’s a tough one. On the one hand United doesn’t have a flight to Haneda and can feed into its Star Alliance partner ANA, but the negative is Japan Airlines already serves the route. Hawaiian’s proposal should do well since Hawaii is a major Japanese destination and JAL discontinued service a few years ago.

    I think ultimately it should go to United without any service to Haneda and also the largest airline in the world. Hawaiian I believe with their roughly 20 flights a day from HNL to KOA can easily connect their Japanese passengers to the island of Hawai’i.

  3. If the criteria is best utility for the economy and traveling public, then United should. Even though there are 2 slots on the mainland (Delta from Seattle & LA), the traveling public would see greater benefit from competition and connecting opportunities United can provide via SFO. Even with JAL at SFO, this would increase competition. Hawaiian would not increase competition or provide for as much economic activity.

  4. KOA-HNL would be only to bring tourists from Japan to Kona (and there are a lot on the island). While it would help the economy of the island, it doesn’t benefit a large segment of the American people.

    United’s SFO service would benefit more people and have a natural tie in with ANA.

    More business travelers paying higher fares would benefit the ease of getting to/from Tokyo on UA. The leisure passengers HA would be drawning from with lower fares don’t need to use HND.

  5. I honestly think these night shots are difficult to make it work due to these hours! East coast and Midwest are tough and if JFK can’t work, I don’t see other possible cities in the east! SFO and LAX are already served by Delta, JAL and ANA, and Seattle is sort of yet to see! But United 787 might have the chance to succeed but not sure if DOT will give United the slot as star alliance has already dominated the SF to Japan market especially Tokyo! I think the only route that might work are holiday destinations like Guam/Saipan and Kona! I personally think Hawaiian Airlines should be given the slot to Kona, as this route might be one of the few ones that can succeed in long term! The timing will be great and no need to worry about awkward times! People argue about most passengers will be Japanese but at least it will benefit an American company and American workers!

  6. UA should get the route to support international network carriers. It connects UA’s major Asian hub with its JV partner NH. If and when HND opens up broader time slots, UA will be an incumbent. Over time, UA should get rights to HND from ORD and LAX as well.

  7. If the slot times remain so bad, then no one would be wise to take them. This is especially the case for the Hawaiian Air/Kona application as the arrival and departure times are not practical as it would relate to hotel check-in and checkout times. If a wide-body full of passengers arrives at KOA at 6Am or earlier, what hotels are going to or could be expected to have that number of rooms empty and ready for checkin? Hardly any. And for a late evening departure from KOA with the hotel’s noon checkout policy…what are all these people expected to do all day? It would be much easier to make the easy, same airline connection in HNL and have a normal flight itinerary that allows for full days in KOA than to sacrifice so much to avoid a simple connection in HNL both ways.

    1. UA can probably make the slot times work in conjunction with existing NRT service. NRT times probably wouldn’t change, with mid afternoon arrival(s) from SFO and early evening departures. The HND service could be a late evening departure from SFO and early morning arrival at HND, perhaps turning to a morning departure from HND and evening arrival in SFO (the day before!)

    2. Every time I fly out of KOA to the mainland, the flights are around 11 PM. US, AA and UA all have late night flights. You check out at noon and hang out on the beach, and drive around. Works for me…

  8. It fefinitely should be United. Hawaiian Airlines is a disgrace to The Hard working American worker. When Hawaiian decided to buy AIRBUS instead Of Boeing they completely ignored all hard woeking Americans who travel to Hawiaa.

    1. Airbus aircraft actually have almost the same percentage of American parts as a Boeing airliner, especially if it is equipped with GE or P&W engines. Avionics are also a mostly American affair. Final assembly of all the parts of a Boeing is done in the USA, from mostly foreign made parts.

      Heck, my Chevrolet is mostly foreign, but is put together in Bowling Green, and GM is incorporated under US law, so I guess that makes it American.

  9. they belong to NWA (delta) untill 1976 NWA had a hub in HND (inherited to nwa after the peace agreement was signed on the uss saratoga at the end of wwII. japan forced nwa to move all its slots to narita in 1976…they have the right to move them back to hnd now that the airport has more runways and terminals

    1. United acquired the Pan Am operation which was also located HND prior to the opening of Narita in the 70’s. Both UA as the PA successor and DL as the NW successor have some claim to establish a hub at HND. Possibly UA has a stronger case since it has a JV with NH and thereby creates a lot more flight options than DL which doesn’t have a Japanese partner.

      In the long run, I expect to see more of the network carriers move to HND and for NRT to segment toward low cost carriers. But that will require removing the regulations that exist to protect NRT.

  10. I don’t even know how there can be any argument. Literally everyone has had a stab at them except for UA. Of course this means DL will still somehow get them without even requesting them:-D

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