Delta Wants to Move Asia-Pacific Hub Closer to Tokyo and Gain Int'l Landing Slots

Delta Wants to Move Asia-Pacific Hub Closer to Tokyo and Gain Int'l Landing Slots

Delta CEO Richard Anderson

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Delta Air Lines, Inc. announced its strong resolve on July 31 to move its Asian hub at Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture to Haneda Airport, closer to downtown Tokyo.

Delta CEO Richard Anderson commented on the move at a press conference in Tokyo during a visit to Japan. There he said that Haneda, now an international airport again, makes for an efficient hub due to its proximity to downtown Tokyo, thus providing greater convenience to the many travelers on international flights coming in and out of there. Anderson also expressed dissatisfaction that while Japanese airlines are given priority in the allocation of international landing slots at Haneda, Delta and other foreign carriers inevitably have to operate out of Narita. He criticized the Japanese government for employing protectionism with landing slot limits at Haneda that ultimately lower Japan's competitiveness.

Anderson touched on his airline's history as being the first private-sector airline (then as Northwest Airlines) to resume service to Haneda after World War II. He expressed Delta's intent to continue pressing the Japanese authorities, saying that if Delta can secure international landing slots for 25 (departing) flights at Haneda, then the company wants to fully return the Asia-Pacific region's operating hub function to Haneda from Narita.

Delta currently operates 25 flights a day connecting Narita Airport with cities in North America and the Asia-Pacific region, while flying only two daily flights in and out of Haneda Airport, which serve Seattle and Los Angeles.

Haneda Airport will double the number of daytime landing slots from 30,000 to 60,000 in March 2014, as well as assign landing slots for long-haul international routes.