Open Skies Agreement Amended, Good for Business Travel
For the first time since 1978 the United States and Japan are amending their Open Skies agreement to allow U.S. carriers to operate daytime flights to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, the closer of Tokyo’s two major airports.
This agreement modifies the four current arrival/departure pairs for the U.S. carriers from nighttime to daytime slots while grand one additional arrival/departure during the nighttime. With flights expected to begin as early as the fall.
American Airlines and United applaud the decision, saying the earlier arrival times give travelers more flexibility with connecting flights. American just started a nonstop service between Los Angeles and Haneda and this new agreement will create “more convenient connections to American’s robust network out of LAX.” United also predicts that this change will allow “more convenient access to this key market from our San Francisco hub.”
It seems that only Delta Airlines is “deeply disappointed” by this decision, perhaps because only a few months earlier they relinquished their slot at Haneda to American. According to Peter Carter Delta EVP and chief legal officer Delta remains firm in their opinion that flights to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport “will remain a severely restricted airport with limited competition.” Even if Delta was able to regain the slot at Haneda both United’s partnership with All Nippon Airways and American’s with Japan Airlines give both companies a significant advantage. Additionally with increased service from the U.S. to Haneda it could pull business away from Delta’s main hub at Narita Airport. According to Carter Delta remains committed to “doing our best to main the viability of our current Asian route structure” and in the future they “adjust our network accordingly.”