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Detroit’s loss may be Sea-Tac’s gain

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on Aug. 9, 2012 at 6:39 am |
August 9, 2012 9:45 am

Delta Air Lines’ planned cancellation of its daily flight from its Detroit hub airport to Tokyo’s close-in Haneda Airport may be a gain for Sea-Tac Airport

Delta says it is canceling its daily nonstop service between its Detroit and Haneda Airport effective Oct. 1.

At the same time, the Atlanta-based airline is asking the federal Department of Transportation to move that Haneda flight to Sea-Tac.

Haneda is the more convenient of the two Tokyo airports. Haneda is located about nine miles from the center of downtown Tokyo. Tokyo’s other airport, Narita, is 36 miles distant from downtown.

Japan only recently opened Haneda to distant flights. It had been limited to domestic regional charter flights. In a filing two years ago, Delta won two of the four routes to Haneda. It flies from Los Angeles to Haneda in addition to Detroit to Haneda.

Most international flights including the three daily flights from Sea-Tac to Tokyo now land at the more distant Narita Airport. That route is flown by Delta, United and a newcomer to the Puget Sound, All Nippon Airways.

Other airlines are reacting to Delta’s request. United Airlines has asked the DOT to award it rights to fly from San Francisco to Haneda if Delta abandons the Detroit route. Hawaiian Airlines, which won one of the four slots at Haneda for flights to Honolulu, asked the DOT to award it a second daily departure to Hawaii from Haneda.

American Airlines, which now flies from New York to Haneda, asked the DOT to allow it to move its flight to another U.S. city if Delta is allowed to move its Haneda flight to Sea-Tac.

There’s no immediate word whether a Sea-Tac-Haneda flight, if approved, would replace or be in addition to Delta’s Sea-Tac-Narita flight.

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