Tokyo Tipping Point: Next Summer, Haneda Will Have More Flights to North America Than Narita


Travelers have always preferred Tokyo’s Haneda Airport over Narita, but artificial restrictions that prevented most international flights from operating at Haneda forced airlines to fly to Narita for all flights to/from North America for years. Those restrictions have slowly been eroded, and the next big tranche of new international slots at Haneda goes into effect next summer. The US airlines released their plans previously, but the big question was around what the Japanese carriers would do. Now we know, and there is a lot of shifting to Haneda. In fact, for the first time since Narita opened, Haneda will have more flights to North America.

I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of why Haneda is the preferred airport, but that isn’t going to stop me. This is why:

There is no other reason except for the whole “convenience” argument.

When Haneda first opened up to US flights in 2009, a trickle of flights moved over. The original rules for US flights required operations only at night, and that hurt commercial viability. Once that changed, the desire to move into Haneda grew for every airline. Delta has now successfully been able to announce a complete pull-out of Narita. American and United remain in reduced form in order to feed their respective partners who have hubs there.

Data via Diio by Cirium, “Beach” defined as Hawai’i and Guam

You can see the steady creep of flights at Haneda as slots have opened up. The big jump comes before next summer. But what I think is most interesting is breaking out the type of flights at each airport.

The expectation once Haneda opened up was that Narita would remain a low-cost, leisure airport. It is certainly trending that way. You can see that the number of flights to the beach destinations in Hawai’i and Guam have remained relatively steady. It’s the business flights to the rest of North America that have disappeared the fastest.

ANA is planning to move most of what it operates to Haneda. It will move its Houston, San Jose, Seattle, and Washington/Dulles flights. It will also move one of its LA flights over, and it will start a new flight from San Francisco. That leaves Narita with 1 daily ANA flight each to Chicago/O’Hare, LA, New York/JFK, and San Francisco. Honolulu will keep its two daily A380 flights as well.

Meanwhile, Japan Airlines will keep more at Narita, but it is still cutting. It will move its Chicago/O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, and New York/JFK flights to Haneda. It will add a new flight from LA to Haneda and downgauge the 777-300ER going from there to Narita into a 787-9. It will also add a new Honolulu flight to Haneda. That leaves Narita with 1 flight each to Boston, LA, San Diego, Seattle, San Francisco, and Vancouver. On the leisure side, JAL will keep flying 2 flights to Guam, 2 to Honolulu, and 1 to Kona. It will also re-start Chicago/O’Hare in 2021, or at least that’s the plan now.

For these airlines, I imagine it’s a balance of wanting to keep some semblance of a hub alive at Narita barring the ability to actually move everything to Haneda. There just aren’t enough slots to do what’s ideal.

Outside of these two (and ANA’s partner United), the rest of Narita is pretty sparse when it comes to North America flying.

  • Aeromexico – 1 daily to Mexico City
  • Air Canada – 1 daily each to Calgary, Montreal, and Vancouver
  • American – 1 daily to Dallas/Fort Worth
  • Hawaiian – 1 daily to Honolulu
  • Jeju Air – 1 daily to Guam
  • Korean Air – 1 daily to Honolulu
  • Singapore Air – 1 daily to Los Angeles
  • T’way Air – 1 daily to Guam
  • United – 1 daily each to Denver, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, and San Francisco plus 3 daily to Guam

It’s amazing to see the amount of lift going into Guam, including flights on three South Korean airlines. (By the way, T’way Air uses the IATA code TW; I had to do a double-take.)

I don’t know the status of the agreements with Canada and Mexico and when (if) those flights can move, so excluding those and the beach markets, there are a scant 7 daily flights left. Six of those are on American and United, both partners of ANA and Japan Airlines so they have hub feed options. The only other one that remains? Singapore Airlines to LA. Considering Singapore’s addition of nonstops to Singapore from Los Angeles, I have to wonder how much longer this flight will survive.

It looks like predictions about Narita’s future appear to be coming true. What determines its actual path is simply how much more capacity Haneda is allowed to absorb. Until a full transfer is allowed, Narita will continue to limp along with the leftovers.

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48 comments on “Tokyo Tipping Point: Next Summer, Haneda Will Have More Flights to North America Than Narita

  1. Is all of the restricted supply of Haneda slots artificial? Is this anywhere near the point where its actual capacity is an issue?

    1. Haneda’s capacity is an issue – the US flights are only a small part of all the international flights, and all the international flights combined are still only a small fraction of the number of domestic flights. The total number of passengers and flights is more than double that of Narita already and has always been that way since Narita opened.

      They have been expanding it recently, a few years before the US flights (with a new international terminal and runway iirc), and gate space is not really a problem (the terminals are fairly crowded but very efficient), but airspace will always be an issue, especially with US military bases nearby.

    2. I’m sure physical capacity will be an issue at some point, but the 4th runway that opened in 2010 was a big capacity bomb at the airport.

      1. Toho Studio’s who make the Godzilla films ,have Godzilla and the monster or kailu ,Destroyer, fight at Haneda in the 1995 film,in War of the Gargantuas, the green monster attacks Haneda and eats a cleaning lady, in the film Gamera fro Daie studios attacks Haneda and at the end of Gappa the Triphebbean monster , the baby Gappa is reunited with his parents / just fun info,since you showed Godzilla’s home on the map/ THANK YOU?

  2. CF, when I first saw the map I looked for the home of Godzilla. Thank you for keeping him as a point of reference! What is the future in expanding Haneda? Also, does Haneda have equipment constraints like Midway? I’m curious because you mentioned an equipment downgrade.

    1. SonofZilla – The equipment downgrade is just on the Narita flight, because JAL is putting the capacity into Haneda from LA. It still wants to maintain Narita but it just needs a smaller airplane. There aren’t any constraints on aircraft type at Haneda that I know of. Maybe it can’t handle A380s? Not sure.

      1. (According to wikipedia) Haneda can handle the A380 but it normally doesn’t allow it during daytime hours as it would be too disruptive taxiing and for airspace separation. Anything else is fine; 20 years ago ANA and JAL were flying large numbers of 747s domestically without any issues.

  3. I know that NRT is further away, but with skyliner, it’s actually more convenient than HND to certain part of Tokyo. And even to tokyo station on the express train, NRT is only probably 20 minutes further our than HND. I think in a few years, you will see a lot more flights from North America to NRT. The demand to Japan is only going to continue to grow. NRT is a pretty good connection point to most of East Asia.

  4. I appreciate the long-term trend, but will be interesting to see if this is a blip/outlier on that trend due to the Olympics.

  5. The Japanese government decided years ago that Narita was to become a predominantly low cost carrier hub while Haneda would be home to legacy/premium longhaul traffic. Now that the Haneda schedules are pretty well set for all carriers, there are some interesting conclusions that can be drawn:
    – JL and NH (esp. w/ UA as a partner) are very much hoping that dual Tokyo hubs at both airports for both airlines will work even though it doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. Given that most airports that will retain service to NRT will also offer it to HND, the highest value local Tokyo passengers will move to the airport that offers the greatest convenience to the most passengers; that has already happened from SFO and LAX, cities that already have duplicate NRT and HND service. It is highly unlikely that flights to NRT can survive based on connecting traffic (which is by nature lower yielding than local traffic in a rationally priced market such as TYO) and local traffic that will pay lower fares.
    – AA and UA and their partners have managed to get several HND flights at their core connecting hubs in the U.S. but their networks are heavily geared to the local markets – most of which they already dominate. Delta’s Seattle, MSP, DTW and ATL flights will probably provide the majority of the connectivity from cities that do not have nonstop access to HND- and those markets could end up with even higher average fares.
    – AA has outsourced its Chicago to Tokyo flying to its partner while UA’s DEN-NRT flight is vulnerable by being surrounded by hubs that have nonstop HND service. Same for JL’s SEA,SAN, and BOS-NRT flights.
    – NH’s A380 on NRT-HNL looks highly vulnerable. A new aircraft type with limited copies on a leisure route at a more distant airport where there will be numerous nonstops to HNL from closer in HND seems like a recipe for financial disaster.
    – JL and NH very much risk losing their position as connecting large portions of the U.S. to elsewhere in Asia. HND simply does not have the number of flights and destinations as NRT does at the times that match up to all of the new HND flights; JL, NH, AA and UA will operate many of their US -HND flights at times that do not hit the primary connections to elsewhere in Asia.
    – JL and NH will be offering double daily HND flights from several US cities including with AA and UA but, if my count is correct, Delta will offer HND service to US more cities than AA/JL and only 2 less than UA/JL. After 10 years of hand ringing about Delta’s future in Tokyo, they will be the largest foreign airline at Haneda, exactly as it was with NW years ago and then with NW/DL at NRT. Tokyo will be a large spoke for DL but they have restructured their TYO operation to be focused on local traffic, which is the best use of the very limited number of slots available. At least initially, Delta is heavily using its A350s to HND for summer 2020 giving DL more seats than most of their competitors’ flights.
    – UA has managed to grow its presence in other major cities in Asia, mostly from SFO, but they will likely carry far more of their own traffic on their own metal to other cities in Asia than they have since they started the JV with NH. AA is particularly vulnerable in Asia given that ORD was geographically their best located gateway to Asia but it has been pulled down. As AA’s second largest city in Asia, HKG, is in crisis and AA won’t have a joint venture with CX which means they have spent billions trying to build Asia and is now in a very distant position to DL and UA and has the lowest ability to connect traffic from the US to Asia, both from the top markets as well as the hundreds of other cities in the US that are necessary for market success.

    1. and Delta still doesn’t know how to serve the largest and richest city in america to Tokyo nonstop despite hubbing there themselves.

      1. Henry, that’s because of Delta’s dual hub. They simply can’t decide whether to serve Tokyo from JFK or LGA…

      2. @Henry,
        I am glad you responded.
        first, this isn’t the final chapter in the NRT/HND discussion. Nobody got everything they wanted. The US-Japan market will have by far the largest number of HND flights compared to other countries. Japan has its work cut out trying to keep a lot of countries happy for feeling they are playing 2nd fiddle to the US. And JL and NH’s connectivity at both NRT and HND is diminished because they did not proportionately move flights by countries and build complexes of hubs in order to facilitate international connections.
        second, Delta has consistently said it would not operate a flight from NRT against competitors flights to HND. DL dropped its JFK-NRT flight when NH and then JL added JFK-HND. DL has repeatedly said it knows the dynamic that exists when two Tokyo airports cities are served from the same city. The evidence from LAX and SFO show that Delta is right. The highest fare traffic moves to HND. DL simply would not play that game at JFK.
        third, Delta did ask at the beginning of this proceeding to move HND flights as part of the route proceeding. The DOT denied it so Delta played by the rules. Delta undoubtedly would like to move one of its HND flights – likely MSP – to JFK. DL would love to have flights at all of its hubs to HND but MSP-HND is old enough to be moved and provides some duplication. It is my prediction that Delta will start JFK-HND, likely by requesting to move MSP.
        fourth, DL is very methodical about expanding. It never served more than JFK-NRT from JFK. DL has aggressively grown its NYC presence but it will take more than just JFK-HND for DL to establish itself as a player to Asia. DL will buildout JFK to Asia but they will do what is necessary to make it work to multiple markets. Oh, and you might recall that AA actually flew both JFK-HND and NRT and dropped both. DL never operated JFK-HND. DL did regain all of the HND flights (DTW and SEA) that it once operated under nighttime restrictions.
        fifth, as hard as you want to gloss over it, DL is the only US carrier that was awarded every city it wanted to serve from HND. The only thing DL didn’t gain was a 2nd HNL flight. DL will still have the most flights of any US or foreign airline at HND and will serve more US cities than AA/JL.

        there are lots of carriers that want more HND access. DL has enough to make its network work. They won’t be dropping any.

        And the issue which you haven’t addressed – and neither has anyone else – is that AA and UA have both outsourced part of their Tokyo flying to their alliance partners and/or are banking heavily that NRT will remain a viable transpacific hub. I have serious doubts that the latter will be the case and, if I am right, AA and UA’s Pacific networks will shrink.

        @ron and mark,
        I am sure you realize that DL at LGA and JFK as well as BA at LGW and LHR do not operate duplicate hubs from each of the airports they serve.

        1. DL, it’s JV and ST in general’s service to major TPAC market out of NYC is pathetic for a carrier that has invested this much money in the market. That’s a fact. Even OW and AA has better service to major TPAC market out of NYC.

          And in KE/MU, it has the weakest partner in Asia among the big 3. UA has its own TPAC network, AC’s TPAC hubs at YVR/YYZ, JV with NH along with OZ/CA/BR who all operate a plethora of flights to continental USA. AA while having the weakest schedule to Asia on its own metals, has JL JV covering the most important market out of continental USA and CX covering basically all markets HKG and further south better than even *A. Anyone who has traveled to Asia, especially ASEAN countries would be able to tell you how many options CX offers to AA ff to places like SIN, TPE, BKK, MNL, KUL, CGK, HKT, DPS, For anyone that travels to Asian market aside from PVG/ICN on a regular basis, DL is a completely unusable option

          1. FC
            I love to have a good discussion about Asia but your response as well as those of others are filled with incorrect statements.
            First, nobody argued that Delta competes currently in the NYC to E. Asia market but they don’t on a nonstop basis. Neither does American.
            Second, your statement about Skyteam vs. oneworld from NYC to E. Asia is factually incorrect. According to current schedules for this month, they both offer 150 flights from JFK and EWR to E. Asia. Skyteam offers 20% more seats on its flights than Star. Both operate to two cities in East Asia. I’m not sure how you define strong and weak but any objective definition would prove your statement to be incorrect.
            Third, JL and KE are the two joint venture partners. KE at ICN connects far more cities in Asia via ICN than JL or NH do at either NRT or HND. MU and CX are not joint venture partners but both have deep relationships with DL and AA, respectively. MU serves more cities in Asia via PVG than CX does via HKG. Fact. DL has its code on more partner flights at PVG than AA does at CX. Fact.
            Fourth, Skyteam is larger across the Pacific than oneworld. DL and KE are #2 and #3. Note that neither JL or NH offer more transpacific service than DL or KE.
            Fifth, the statement I did make which no one has yet to deal with is that oneworld and Star both have bulked up their presence at their US coastal airports to HND – but offer poor connectivity to the rest of the US compared to DL – which will have 3 interior US gateways to HND. DL still serves 3 Pacific gateways plus HNL to HND. In terms of coverage of the entire US to Asia, DL is hardly at the disadvantage that some want to believe, esp. to HND. The big difference between DL and oneworld and Star’s service to HND is that the latter two duplicate flights in the largest markets. They have been larger than Delta in those markets, and in the case of NYC, DL hasn’t serve NYC to Asia since JL and NH first started their own JFK to HND flights. Nothing has changed.
            The big difference, as I noted, is that DL does a much better job of providing connections to the scores of cities that do not have any nonstop service to Asia and they do that thru three eastern US hubs. Most of the small and medium sized cities that DL connects to Asia generate higher average fares than the large west coast cities.
            And, finally, AA and UA have both outsourced flights to Japan and/or are desperately hoping that NRT remains a viable gateway even after the best revenue is siphoned off to HND – which NH and JL are doing very well. Given that the remaining NRT flights will be heavily from the west coast, connectivity even to NRT will be worse than it is today. As has been noted by others, there are very poor connections beyond HND and other hubs including ICN do a far better job of connecting the US to Asia with more transpacific flights from more cities and to more cities in Asia than AA/JL and NH/UA will do over Tokyo.
            As hard as it is for some to accept, the whole notion of having a joint venture in a dual hub city where one airport has highly restricted access and is closer to the central business district will likely backfire for AA and UA – not unlike the slot swaps that both tried to do with Delta in NYC but which ended up with Delta having a larger presence than either of them. (since you want to talk about NYC).
            Keep the cards and letters coming. CF is doing a good job of keeping the NRT/HND topic alive. It is not over yet. And by this time next year, we will be getting preliminary data on how well the decisions to move so much capacity to HND and for AA/JL and NH/UA to operate split hubs in Tokyo has worked out for them.

            1. Your comments on this subject show that you have very little experience in TPAC travel. The reality is CX is a very viable choice for any North American traveler to Asia because of its product, whereas only the bargain chasers are going with MU. Business travelers avoid CN3 carriers like plague unless they are going directly to the home airport of CN3. Everyone who does a lot of travel to Asia can tell you that. Code shares are irrelevant since AA flyers can get qualifying miles on any CX flights. In fact, I built my AA status in previous years based mostly on CX flights. It doesn’t matter DL has more code share out of PVG if no business travelers are willing to fly on it to non-PVG destination.

              Your comments like “Skyteam is larger across the Pacific than oneworld. DL and KE are #2 and #3.” doesn’t really help them when most of that is from places like ATL/DTW/SEA/MSP that have minimal external competition. The cities that are captive to DL are always going to be flying them. But for places that are not like NYC and LAX, where they are battling hard for corporate contract, their schedule and lack of options to places like HKG and SIN is very striking. Again, in these major markets, just the availability on CX connection, allows AA flyers far more departure and arrival time flexibility to most of south east asia and Australia than DL ff. Take a look at KE schedule from ICN to TPE, BKK, SIN, KUL, CGK, DPS, Australia. It’s very weak compared to CX. And in terms of service to continental USA, CX/AA has more flight out of NYC/LAX/DFW than KE/DL and same number of flights out of SFO/ORD/BOS. Only a couple of fewer weekly flights out of SEA. And those are your largest TPAC market in continental USA. And remember on the other end, you have more connection options to all of southeast asia and australia.

              Your 5th state statement indicates a very shallow view of the market. AC offers wide coverage to all of USA through its hubs in YYZ and YVR. For example, YYZ offers flights to PEK, DEL, HKG, ICN, PVG, HND, SYD and BOM. YVR offers flights to PEK, BNE, DEL, HKG, ICN, PVG, SYD, TPE, NRT. For east coasters and middle of the country folks, the combination of EWR/YYZ offers much better TPAC access than DTW. For west coasters and mountain region folks, the combination of SFO/YVR offers much better TPAC access than SEA. Just think about the number of cities in America that have service to YYZ and YVR and the frequency of those services. If you are in RDU and looking to travel home to Delhi, just take a look at how many options here are on *A and how many on sky team. How many available arrival times there are at DL if you are on *A.

              When you only restrict your sights on the TPAC JVs, you intentionally ignore what actually affects the decision making of TPAC travelers. Sure, DL is your best option if you are flying out of ATL/DTW/SEA/MSP, but it’s a pretty bad option for any of the other major centers with Asian population. Aside from DL hubs, KE/DL JV only flies to DFW, LAS, IAD and HNL. How does that give rest of America access to Asia?

            2. FC,
              We get your bias and preference – but that doesn’t change the fact that your statements are factually incorrect.

              DL and Skyteam are larger than oneworld across the Pacific. KE is not in China and it is the largest Asian airline across the Pacific.

              AA doesn’t even fly from NYC or ORD or any other point in the northern tier of the US to Asia.

              DTW, MSP, and ATL have more capacity connecting Asia to the middle of America than any other hubs regardless of whether you are talking about AC, AA or UA.
              DL built is HND strategy around HNL, its triple west coast gateways, and its triple middle America hubs. No other US carrier asked for or got anything comparable.

              DL will carry more revenue and passengers to HND than any other US airline and also connect more cities to HND more often via its middle America hubs than any airline, alliance or JV.

            3. FC,
              just a few more data points to show the scale of US airlines to Asia.

              Based on DOT data, the top 20 US origins by US airline on both their own metal and their joint venture partners to East Asia are 9 cities for UA, 7 cities for DL, and 2 cities each for AA and HA.

              It is no surprise that United has as many US cities in which it carries enough LOCAL passengers from that city to E. Asia to be in the top 20 city/airline combinations but I doubt that if you ever considered that Delta holds that title in 7 cities. Delta clearly carries a large number of passengers from the US to East Asia from highly competitive markets like Honolulu, Seattle and Los Angeles in addition to its hubs – and the size and value of the LOCAL market to Asia they have even in their hubs is a whole lot more than you think.

              If you want to define size by a narrow definition that fits you, I am sure you can justify your decision – and you are free to make your decision.

              You simply cannot argue using real data that Delta doesn’t attract high value travelers to Asia in nearly as many of the largest US markets as United. Not only does Delta compete in far more of the largest markets than American but it is far closer to United than you want to admit or know.

        2. MSP being switched to another Delta hub is a non starter. They were given that slot over AA who had a request for one for DFW. DOT gave it to Delta, but put them on notice. Any attempt to move this slot, and AA will appeal and should be granted the slot.

          1. Paul,
            I believe that restriction expired two years after the route was awarded to Delta. In any case, these awards have rendered the issue moot.

      3. I think Delta is smart not to serve New York from Haneda at this point, Between JAL, United and ANA, there will be four daily flights between Haneda and the New York area (three from JFK, one from EWR on United). At this point, American carriers can’t move their flights among the various destinations as easily as the Japanese carriers can. Three of the four NYC – HND flights (two via JAL, and one via ANA – all from JFK) are on Japanese carriers, and can easily be moved if there’s too much capacity. And the only way to know if there’s too much, or too little, is to fly the routes.

    2. Doesn’t BA operate two hubs in London with LHR and LGW? DL in NYC with JFK and LGA? Seems the huge size of those cities provides unique circumstances that allow for massive O&D as well as connection opportunities.

      Not many cities allow for dual hubs, but if any can I’d say it’s NYC, LON, and TYO.

      1. And LCY as well.

        There’s also China Eastern in SHA/PVG, and to a lesser extent Air France in CDG/ORY. (Alitalia used to have hubs and MXP and LIN although arguably not successfully).

        1. @Jason H
          None of the carriers/hub you note involve DUPLICATE longhaul services to the same cities. That is what JL and NH are proposing doing (along with AA and UA) that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. LCY and ORY have very few duplicated longhaul routes to the US from LHR/LGW and CDG.

          HND-HNL capacity is growing dramatically with the addition of the new slots but that is true with the HND vs. NRT market to US market as a whole. The capacity growth is far in excess of demand growth and the amount of capacity being added is not sustainable. Tokyo is a mature market that will actually have lower connectivity to the rest of Asia than it has now.

          Keep in mind that hosting the Olympics will drive increased traffic to Japan – but once the Olympics are over, economic reality will set in.

          1. Tim,
            I’m speculating, but I think you’ll see less and less duplication between Haneda and Narita in the future when it comes to beyond Japan connections. As you pointed out in another of our exchanges, American, United, JAL and ANA don’t need to lay any new tracks to move service around. There are probably a number of smaller or more obscure Asian markets that can easily be served via connections at Narita (or Inchon for that matter); that probably aren’t viable directly from the U.S. But I feel sorry for poor Godzilla. He’ll probably get lonelier and lonelier as more and more people connect at Narita instead of going into Tokyo. By the way, I have a friend whose family lives closer to Narita than Haneda, so there’s still some local demand there as well.

            1. I suspect you are right that there will be less duplication between HND and NRT – but let’s also keep in mind that the Japanese government’s stated goal is to make NRT a low cost carrier airport while HND will become the hub for premium traffic. That kind of model would make Tokyo more like London with two large but distinct hubs than what JL and NH is proposing right now. Adding a bunch of different cities beyond NRT than are offered from NRT would make the two hubs different.
              The Japanese government has given the US far more access to HND than it has given to other countries; JL and NH can’t offer near as much service from HND because other countries’ airlines do not have access to HND so won’t allow Japanese carriers to fly those routes which means a lot of traffic has to remain at NRT.
              All of that doesn’t change that the majority of the premium traffic flies from HND given a choice. That is true for short haul and now longhaul traffic and it has been confirmed from both LAX and SFO where AA and UA have had side by side NRT and HND flights. NRT transpac flights can’t last if the premium demand all goes to HND. Given how aggressively Star and oneworld are expanding their biggest US markets to HND while cutting access to NRT, the notion that large parts of the US will just use NRT won’t play out in reality. There is an imbalance in the flow and connecting traffic and between the large and medium sized cities that exist today at NRT. It will take time to fix what is broken.
              DL is simply exempt from having to deal w/ those imbalances and could well benefit as AA/JL and NH/UA work thru their own Tokyo restructuring efforts.
              Also, remember that the US and Japan are supposed to have Open Skies. A route allocation process such as what has happened at HND is not part of the Open Skies process. The Japanese signed Open Skies with the US and then decided to start opening HND. The US should have pulled the plug on Open skies and the joint ventures that go with them the minute the Japanese government started to trickle out US access to HND – but that didn’t happen. it is all the more necessary for the US to fix that problem w/ Japan precisely because they have Open Skies with the US while China does not.
              good conversation….always enjoy meeting you here.

      2. London is the closest to a split hub as TYO, and yes BA does have to fly some TATLs from LGW. But to the US they’re mostly to leisure destinations or (in the case of LGW-JFK) to keep a foot on Norwegian. The others are to Caribbean destinations which are likely a mixture of leisure and business.

        But, LGW is much closer to central London than NRT is to central Tokyo and 13 fast trains per hour to central London (both Victoria and London Bridge in 30 minutes). Geography/distance wise, NRT is to Tokyo what Stansted is to London. Also, if/when LHR gets runway 3 BA (and VS,) will likely move all its long hauls from LGW to LHR, together with the short hauls to Europe.

    3. NRT-HNL flights (actually any airline at either airport) are not vulnerable and won’t be cut at any point soon. There is *huge* demand for Japan-originating tourism that isn’t going away in the short to medium-term future, and even though they only have 2 A380s (that were sort of acquired unintentionally) they have relatively low costs when they go out full, and fares still remain high.

  6. Are the South Korean airlines’ flights to Guam fifth freedom originating in South Korea, or are they allowed to fly between Japan and Guam directly?

    1. I’m sure they could sell the local market or they wouldn’t bother flying it. Though with Japan/South Korea relations at a low point, I’d imagine this will be on the chopping block.

  7. I am a former SFO flyer that has moved to a small town in the New England this year. I fly to Southeast Asia for work several times a year, which was so easy and amazing from SFO. I am shocked at how hard and bad it is from the East Coast. I have to connect through either EWR or IAD, but since UA can’t seem to play nice with its Star Alliance partners its so expensive and long to get into Asia. All of the Star Alliance partners I want to use are at JFK, not EWR, and ANA’s flights that I need to connect to are from Narita, not Haneda, which is getting harder and harder to fly to from the East Coast. I always through UA and Star Alliance was so strong in Asia, but I am closet to leaving.

    1. Where do you fly out of, and what are your most important destinations?

      If you’re within driving distance of BOS, then switching to DL is a no brainer.

  8. Will NH and JL add intra-Asia flights to HND to support the North American flying? HND has a ton of domestic flights but NRT seems to have more flights to other Asian countries, especially ones that time to connect to those afternoon/evening NA arrivals and departures.

    1. NH and JL do already serve the intra-Asia flying from HND, so connections are possible. But they are timed for the Japan O&D market, i.e. early morning and late night (red eyes) and so the connections to/from the mid-afternoon/early evening banks from/to the US are terrible (7-10 hour layovers). I don’t see that NH/JL is going to move their existing services, so it’s going to be wait for and grab future slots. And with HND so slot constrained that’s going to be a long time.

      Ironically, when the US-HND market was limited to night time slots, the AA (ex-LAX) and UA (SFO) flights did connect nicely to the JL/NH midnight departures to SE Asia, but only for itineraries outbound from the US.

  9. Will there be any more rounds of slots becoming available at HND in the future? This round was set up to coincide with the Olympics but I haven’t heard of any more opening in the future.

    With DL seeming to have all they need (maybe even giving up one or two down the road without a partner to help feed them) and AA only having one NRT flight left it doesn’t seem like there wouldn’t be as much competition for future allocations.

    1. Michael – I am not aware of whether or not there are future allocations planned, but presumably there would still be demand for the next round.
      Delta and American would probably like to add frequency, and United would want to move more over to Haneda. I’m sure Hawaiian would like more as well. But with each add, the demand for the next is probably going to diminish somewhat.

  10. I was recently looking at schedule data and was surprised by how much of the beyond connectivity into Asia on JAL and ANA remains at NRT. There really is nowhere near as much connection opportunity at HND to major destinations like Singapore, Bangkok, and elsewhere, and those connections have traditionally filled a lot of seats between the US and Japan. It will be interesting to see whether the airlines can make HND work based primarily on Tokyo local demand alone. Between that and increasingly many other ways to get deeper into Asia, including more and more US nonstops to places like Singapore, Hong Kong, and mainland China, I suspect we may be at a high-water mark for US-Japan service.

    1. Looks like both FedEx and UPS use Narita (NRT) and Kansai (KIX) in Japan, with both using 767s and FedEx using 777s as well. That’s based on pages from the companies’ web sites.

      Not sure about the situation in Japan, but if I were the Japanese government, I would push most of the cargo-only airlines to use NRT instead of HND. As you said, packages & air freight shipments (and those who send/receive them) don’t care which airport is used, so long as the widgets arrive on time, and a few extra road miles for cargo isn’t usually a big deal.

  11. I’m guessing (and only guessing) that the new status quo will prevail for a few years. I may be missing something (which is quite possible) but it seems to me that there’s really not a large increase in overall capacity between Japan and the U.S., just some shuffling. If I’m not mistaken, I believe JAL is adding two flights from Haneda to Honolulu, not only one. But again, I might be missing something.

    Now that the allocations have been made, I’m wondering if Delta, American or United will revisit Delta’s request for the right to change flights to adjust to market conditions, the way the Japanese carriers are able to do. I thought Delta raised a valid point in arguing that American carriers should have the same ability to adapt to the marketplace as their Japanese counterparts. One example was the transfer of JAL’s Honolulu – Haneda flight to JFK a few years back. U.S. carriers should have that ability too.

    1. I agree with your comments above and here.

      Just to add, there is a mechanism to transfer routes which have been awarded through an allocation process. Delta used it to move its DTW-HND nighttime HND flight to SEA when US carriers were first granted access to HND.
      The DOT did not rule that DL could not ask to have its route moved, just that they would not allow the transfer process to happen at the same time as allocation of the new frequencies which are about ready to start.

      American support DL’s request to transfer routes but AA wanted it to apply to its China authorities. Ultimately, they dropped their ORD-PEK and PVG routes and the authorities have been returned to the pool

      I believe there will be a recognition by both the US and Japanese carriers that there is too much capacity at the big coastal airports and not enough at central US connecting airports. If NRT really doesn’t work, then UA will want to get DEN service to HND; it still will not be able to move IAH to HND on its own metal but it doesn’t fit UA’s mid continent strategy to place only one HND route on UA metal at a mid-continent hub.

      AA and JL are in a much tougher spot but I suspect that they too will realize that a bunch of LAX and HNL flights and even two JFK flights to HND are not worth as much as being able to move all of their US gateways to HND.

      Yes, it is likely that there will be route transfer requests by the US airlines; DL just happens to be in a position of having met the 2 year requirement for MSP which is the route most likely to be moved because MSP connections are heavily duplicated by DTW and/or SEA. The Japanese carriers might move unilaterally to start moving their own flights perhaps soon after the Olympics.

      1. Tim, I know there’s a mechanism, but it’s too cumbersome. Delta made the valid point that the process needs to be streamlined (another railroad reference, although it was part of a much larger overall design trend). In any event, it should be interesting to see how things shake out.

    2. also, Ghost, for April 2020, the first full month after the new HND flights start, capacity between the US and Tokyo is up by 9% in flights, 14% in seats, and 13% in ASMs compared to April 2019. HND is up 130% while NRT is down 18%.
      A 14% increase in capacity – even if the same level of connections is maintained and it likely cannot be – is well in excess of the demand growth in the market and will result in lower fares. It is a given that level of capacity will not be maintained. Duplicated routes between NRT and HND and duplicate routes between the same airport pairs will be the most likely to be cut.

      1. Tim – Don’t forget the Olympics will be in Japan. That may raise tourism demand for a short time. But I think you’re right in the long term, and it’ll be interesting to see what gets cut.

        1. Tourism to japan has been on a massive growth trajectory for a while and looks likely to continue beyond the olympics. I forget what the government goal exactly. is but I think the aim is 40million inbound tourists a year up from 8million not so long ago. Add in that the Japanese economy is picking up, leading to more outbound tourism and looser immigration policies this lead to more flight demand.

          In my own market, Australia, we’ve gone from NH,JL and QF serving SYD-TYO and Jetstar CNS-KIX to JL doing MEL AND SYD to TYO, NH doing SYD and PER to TYO, QF MEL, SYD and BNE to TYO, SYD to CTS and KIX, VA doing BNE to TYO and Jetstar doing Cairns an Goldcoast to Nagoya, KIX and TYO. Its a lot of capacity.

          I fly NRT-MEL on JL a lot and the passenger mix seems to be about 1/3 Japanese tourists and business people, 1/3 Aussies going to japan and 1/3 people connecting through to Europe. This last category is interesting. Finnair and JL have some great fares to Europe from Australia in business through Tokyo and this seems to be a good way of filling out the planes at reasonable but not great yields.

          I know the blog is US focused but I’d love to see a bit of cranky analysis comparing th increase in US flights at Haneda with what other markets got. Australia got 4, one each for JL, NH, QF and virgin, none of which will go to Melbourne so I’ll be dodging ??? for a while longer.

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