- Delta Air Lines will not operate its proposed flights from Portland International Airport (PDX) to Tokyo-Haneda International Airport (HND) after negotiations with the Department of Transportation (DOT) fell through.
- Delta tried to swap its Haneda landing slot for a different US airport but was unsuccessful. Now, United Airlines is interested in taking on the slot for a service from either Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) or Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport (GUM).
- Delta’s lukewarm reaction to the Portland slot may be due to a lack of profitability potential.
After lengthy negotiations with the Department of Transportation (DOT), Delta Air Lines will no longer be operating its proposed service from Portland International Airport (PDX) to Tokyo-Haneda International Airport (HND). Originally, the carrier was scheduled to begin operating this flight after receiving landing slots from the DOT when they were opened up to US airlines by Haneda Airport.
Photo: Ryken Martin/Shutterstock
Delta had attempted to persuade the Department of Transportation to allow the carrier to swap its Haneda landing slot for a different US airport, but ultimately its efforts were fruitless. Now, the carrier has elected to give up the DOT’s offered Haneda slot, with United Airlines now expressing interest in taking on the slot for a proposed service from either Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) in Honolulu or Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport (GUM) in Guam.
The story behind this proposed service
In 2019, the DOT received a handful of slots from Haneda Airport, which were to be distributed to US carriers to operate long-haul flights to the airport. Eventually, these slots would be awarded to United Airlines, Delta, American Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines.
Delta was lucky enough to receive five of these slots, to operate services from Atlanta (ATL), Detroit (DTW), Honolulu (HNL), Seattle (SEA), and Portland (PDX). While it may seem strange for the DOT to issue a slot for Portland, as it is not one of Delta’s hub airports, the carrier does operate long-haul service from PDX, with Airbus A330 flights to Amsterdam.
Photo: Davidi Vardi I Shutterstock
Likely, Delta’s lukewarm reaction to receiving a slot for Portland is due to a lack of profitability potential between the city and Tokyo Haneda, especially considering the carrier also received a slot for nearby Seattle. Unfortunately, the DOT wasn’t convinced by Delta’s arguments to move the slot to another airport, which they detailed in a statement as follows:
“The department believes, consistent with our past practice, that should any of the carriers selected for Haneda service wish to change their U.S. gateway, the public interest would be best served by our consideration of such a request on the basis of a fresh and complete evidentiary record, and in light of the circumstances presented at that time. Such record would offer the opportunity not only for arguments and evidence that the requesting carrier might present in support of its proposed shift, but also potential arguments and evidence of other interested carriers and communities in favor of alternative outcomes that they believe would best maximize public benefits.”
For the DOT, if Delta doesn’t want to operate from Portland, then it is only fair for the agency to reevaluate the public’s needs and redistribute the spot to the carrier they believe would best serve the general community. However, for Delta, this likely comes as a disappointment as the airline will lose the opportunity to operate a potentially lucrative Tokyo-Haneda route from a different hub such as JFK or Salt Lake City.
Photo: Nicolas Economou | Shutterstock
Ultimately, it will be up to the DOT to determine who this slot will be reallocated to. Hopefully, another carrier will be awarded the slot and operate the flights the Portland community was expecting.
Source: One Mile at a Time