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DOT launches proceeding to award flights from U.S. to Tokyo’s Haneda airport

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today launched a proceeding to award newly negotiated opportunities to serve Tokyo’s downtown Haneda airport and invited U.S. airlines to apply for these opportunities. 

DOT also proposed to temporarily allocate four daytime Haneda opportunities to the four airlines currently limited to providing nighttime U.S.-Haneda services.

DOT’s proposal would allow the four U.S. carriers to temporarily use newly negotiated daytime Haneda rights, while DOT conducts the proceeding to award all of the Haneda rights on a long-term basis.  DOT tentatively allocated daytime Haneda rights to American for service from Los Angeles; Delta for service from Los Angeles; Hawaiian for service from Honolulu; and United for service from San Francisco.  These daytime flights would replace the carriers’ existing nighttime Haneda flights.

On February 18, 2016, U.S. and Japanese negotiators successfully concluded an amendment to the U.S.-Japan Open-Skies agreement.  The amendment provides that, following an exchange of diplomatic notes, the four existing U.S.-carrier nighttime flight opportunities at Haneda will be transferred to daytime hours.  In addition, one new daytime flight opportunity and one new nighttime flight opportunity will become available for U.S. carrier scheduled passenger services.  DOT’s newly launched proceeding is intended to allocate these opportunities among interested carriers.

Daytime access to Haneda could significantly expand the number of U.S. cities that can support commercially viable Haneda service.  In light of the considerably changed circumstances, DOT said that the public interest warrants a completely fresh look at the U.S.-Haneda market to determine which allocations would best serve the public interest.  DOT’s principal objective in this proceeding will be to maximize public benefits.

Under the existing U.S.-Japan Open-Skies agreement, U.S. carrier scheduled operations to Haneda have been restricted to nighttime hours (between 10:00 PM and 7:00 AM local Tokyo time).  Furthermore, departures from Haneda to the 48 contiguous U.S. states were permitted only after midnight.

DOT is proposing temporary allocations to the incumbent carriers to preserve a U.S. carrier presence at Haneda while it conducts the allocation proceeding.  The Department has proposed to allow carriers to use these temporary allocations through the 2016/2017 winter traffic season.

Objections to DOT’s proposed temporary allocations are due by March 29, 2016.  If objections are filed, answers will be due April 5, 2016.  Applications for the longer-term allocation of U.S.-Haneda opportunities are due by April 12, 2016.

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