NEW YORK – American Airlines Inc. announced Thursday that it will offer daily, nonstop service between Los Angeles and Tokyo starting Feb. 11, returning to Haneda airport after a lapse of more than two years.
“It’s important for our customers to have direct access to Tokyo Haneda,” chief marketing officer Andrew Nocella said in a statement. Haneda is closer to downtown Tokyo than the other metropolitan area airport, Narita, in Chiba Prefecture.
The flight authority for American’s new route was reallocated from Delta Airlines after a review by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Delta had drawn criticism from competitors for drastically cutting back the number of flights on its Seattle-Haneda route, inaugurated in 2013 but struggling to fill seats on a daily schedule.
Although the U.S. DOT would have allowed Delta to continue the route if it agreed to maintain daily flights — a condition the airline originally accepted in March of this year — Delta reconsidered and in June declared that the service was not viable.
Haneda has only four slots available for U.S. airlines. United connects the airport with San Francisco, Hawaiian Airlines offers flights to and from Honolulu, and Delta will maintain its Los Angeles-Haneda service alongside the new American Airlines route.
All Nippon Airways also provides nonstop flights between the Tokyo airport and Los Angeles International.
American has not served Haneda since December 2013, when it discontinued a route from New York’s JFK airport, deeming it unprofitable due to late arrival and early departure slots at Haneda.
A Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner with room for 226 passengers will fly the route, operating in partnership with Japan Airlines.
The service will include a daily departure from Los Angeles at 6:00 p.m., arriving in Tokyo at 11:00 p.m. the following day, and a 1:30 a.m. flight from Haneda landing at the U.S. airline’s West Coast hub at 6:20 p.m.
American’s new service between Los Angeles and Sydney, Australia is slated to begin on Dec. 17.
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