Hawaiian Airlines wins Tokyo route - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaiian Airlines wins Tokyo route

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

WASHINGTON and HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaiian Airlines has won the right to fly between Honolulu and Tokyo, beating two much larger airlines that wanted the same slots.

It is a victory of David over Goliath. Only four landing slots were available and five airlines applied, all of the others far larger than Hawaiian. Hawaiian requested two landing slots. With the one it won, it can begin serving Tokyo's Haneda airport in October - as soon as a new runway is completed.

Delta Air Lines, which asked for all four landing slots, won two, to serve Haneda from Los Angeles and its ex-Northwest hub at Detroit. American Airlines won one, to fly there from New York. United Airlines and Continental Airlines also applied for slots but didn't get any.

"This will provide a definite boost to our state's economy," said Rep. Mazie Hirono, "and is particularly timely given Japan Airlines' decision to decrease the number of seats to and from Hawaii."

Japan Airlines recently announced that in October it will halt direct flights to Kona, and will switch some other Hawaii flights to newer jets that have fewer seats but better fuel economy.

Hirono, a member of the House Transportation Committee who provided the first public word of the decision Friday, said a study group when she was lieutenant governor concluded that direct flights from Haneda airport could boost Japanese traffic to Hawaii up to 10%.

Until now, Haneda airport has been used chiefly for flights within Japan, while international flights use Narita, a newer airport located far out of the city. This meant that people who live in other parts of Japan, to visit Hawaii, had to fly to Haneda, then take a bus or train trip to Narita to catch their international flight. Hawaii tourism marketers say the hours spent doing this, at both ends of a typical one week Japanese vacation, may be a significant deterrent to a Hawaii vacation.

Hawaiian Airlines won Tokyo route rights years ago but for financial reasons was never able to launch the service. The company is in stronger financial shape today.

More about this story on HawaiiNewsNow.com:

Hawaiian Airlines seeks ok for non-stop flights to Tokyo

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