HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaiian Airlines keeps its flight slots from Tokyo Haneda, but an extra daytime slot from that airport will go to Delta Air Lines, the U.S. Transportation Department announced Wednesday.
The decision was preliminary but it is unusual for the final DOT decision to vary from it, airline industry insiders said.
When the year began there were four daily slots for U.S. airlines serving Haneda airport, all redeyes. Hawaiian flew to Honolulu, United flew to San Francisco, and both American and Delta flew to Los Angeles with their slots.
Then U.S. and Japanese officials agreed to three things: (1) moving those redeyes to earlier hours, (2) creating a new redeye slot that would stay redeye, and (3) creating a new daytime slot.
Hawaiian Airlines applied for the new redeye slot to fly to Kona and Honolulu, depending on the day of the week, and was awarded this slot when no other carrier applied for it.
In the Wednesday decision, DOT said the extra daytime slot goes to Delta Air Lines, which intends to use it to serve Minneapolis, the former headquarters hub of Northwest Airlines, which is now part of Delta.
Most international flights to and from Tokyo use Narita airport, but it can take more than an hour to ride a train to Narita from downtown Tokyo. Haneda is closer and more convenient, and carries most domestic flight traffic, making it an easier transfer for a Japanese traveler who starts elsewhere in Japan and changes to an international flight in Tokyo.