Last Friday, the US Department of Transportation approved Hawaiian Airlines’ request to serve Honolulu and Kona from Haneda Airport, Tokyo. The airline will launch this new route before the 29th of January, 2017. Hawaiian Airlines’ CEO Mark Dunkerley said:
This is tremendous news for Hawaiian Airlines, for our employees, our customers and for the economies of Kona and our entire state.
The announcement comes as a result of an agreement the U.S. and Japan reached earlier this year in February, made in order to increase the number of slots between Haneda International Airport and the U.S. from four to six routes.
Hawaiian Airlines has now officially obtained one of those routes and is looking for another. At the moment, Hawaiian has one of the four slots and flies to Honolulu daily. United has one slot and serves San Francisco with the slot. The remaining two slots are used by American and Delta, both to serve Los Angeles.
The Department of Transportation (DoT) must still decide which five of eight remaining applications by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airways, and United Airlines for daytime slots at Haneda International Airport it will accept. American Airlines asked for two daily flights from Los Angeles and Dallas/Ft. Worth; Delta said that they want to have three daily flights from Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Atlanta; United requested two daily flights from San Francisco and Newark while Hawaiian asked for a Honolulu service.
Applicant airlines were given until the Fifth Of May to submit arguments and evidence supporting their proposals, also known as answers to provide extra detail into the business cases for their route bids. They then are published to the public and in turn, the bidders have until the 12th of May to reply to the answers.
After these dates, the DOT will then run its own internal review of the applications and decide how it plans to distribute the slots. When the routes are chosen, the airlines are able to launch their flights after the 30th of October.