American Airlines Gets Tentative OK to Launch Daily Flights to Tokyo's Downtown Airport

American Airlines has won tentative approval to launch daily flights as soon as next summer from DFW International Airport to Japan's Haneda International Airport -- a coveted route for business and leisure travelers because of its downtown Tokyo location.The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Thursday that it's tentatively awarding daytime Haneda slots to American to begin service from DFW and add a second daily flight from Los Angeles International Airport."We are encouraged by the DOT's tentative decision," said American Airlines President Robert Isom in a statement. "We understand the unique opportunity we've been granted with new Haneda service from our largest hub at DFW and additional service from LAX, and will deliver a world-class customer experience when flights begin next year." American launched LAX-to-Haneda service in 2016 and has been trying to gain additional slots. It had wanted to add two flights from DFW, citing high demand from business travelers following a flood of investment by Japanese companies in North Texas.Earlier this year, Japan agreed to open up 12 additional daytime slots to U.S. carriers in part because the country is hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics. Besides the two slots tentatively awarded to American, the transportation department also doled out five slots to Delta, four to United and one to Hawaiian Airlines. Those flights would depart from these U.S. airports: Delta: Seattle; Detroit; Atlanta; Portland, Ore.; Honolulu Hawaiian Airlines: Honolulu United: Newark, N.J.; Chicago O'Hare; Washington-Dulles; Los Angeles Delta, in a statement, praised the decision as a "major milestone" that benefits travelers by increasing competition. The Atlanta-based carrier said it'll be able to compete more effectively with U.S. airlines, such as American, that have joint venture partnerships with Japanese airlines. "This preliminary order demonstrates the DOT's commitment to encouraging competition and providing more choice for customers traveling between the U.S. and Tokyo's city center," said Delta executive Steve Sear.Delta already has existing service to Haneda from Los Angeles and Minneapolis/St. Paul. Tokyo's other major airport, Narita, can increase travel time by up to two hours to the city's downtown.The transportation department's final decision is expected in the next few weeks.  Continue reading...

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