People are seen on a bus on an overcast Friday in Tokyo, Japan. Photo for The Washington Post by Matt McClain.
Photo: The Washington Post
Photo: The Washington Post

Delta gets final approval for Atlanta-Tokyo Haneda flights

Delta Air Lines received final federal approval to launch flights from Atlanta to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, which will replace its service to Tokyo Narita Airport.

The new Atlanta-Haneda flights will launch in March 2020 on Boeing 777-200ER jets.

Atlanta-based Delta received approval for service to Tokyo Haneda from Atlanta and four other cities, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation announcement Friday.

Three years ago, Delta lost a fight to keep its hub at Tokyo Narita Airport amid U.S.-Japan aviation talks and shifted its sights to Haneda.

With the latest Haneda approvals, Delta plans to shift all of its U.S.-Tokyo flights from Narita to Haneda, which it calls Tokyo’s “most convenient airport.”

Delta had inherited the hub at Narita from Northwest Airlines, but has been drawing down service there and adding flights at Haneda, which is closer to the city center.
The airline now has the official go-ahead for flights to Haneda from Atlanta, Seattle, Detroit, Honolulu and Portland, Ore., finalizing a tentative decision announced in May. The new routes will all shift from Narita and add to the Haneda flights Delta already operates from Los Angeles and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Delta now says it will be the largest U.S. carrier serving Haneda as of 2020.

Steve Sear, the airline’s president of international, in a written statement called Tokyo “one of the world’s most important business markets,” and called the new service “a game-changer for Delta’s ability to offer competitive and comprehensive access to the city.”

Delta will also suspend its flights from Narita to Manila and launch new daily flights to Manila from its new Asian hub at Seoul Incheon, contingent on getting “viable operational slots.” Delta has a joint venture with Korean Air, which operates a hub at Incheon.

Delta will also suspend its Narita-Singapore service, and said passengers can get to Singapore via Seoul on Korean Air.

American Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and United Airlines also got DOT approval Friday for new routes to Tokyo Haneda from some of their hub cities.

The DOT said it expects the new Haneda routes to launch next year in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. 

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About the Author

Kelly Yamanouchi
Kelly Yamanouchi
Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.