DALLAS – United Airlines (UA) is eager to take over slots at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (HND) that have been returned by Hawaiian Airlines (HA).
Chicago-based UA has applied for the Haneda night-time slots previously held by Hawaiian Airlines, shortly after HA gave these up on January 28. HA has returned its slots for flights into HND from Honolulu (HNL) and Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport (KOA). This is effective as of April 2. The airline blames current market conditions for the return of the slots.
In September last year, UA filed a complaint with the Department of Transportation (DOT). It requested the department take back HA’s night-time slot at HND due to the underutilization of the slot. Hawaiian was not using the slot under the COVID-19 exemptions. Hawaiian Airlines responded by announcing the restart of flights. Thus preventing the loss of its HND slot. Hawaiian resumed flights between KOA and HND on October 29 of last year.
However, the airline’s flight schedule for next month shows just three weekly flights between the two airports. In addition to the three flights departing Kona, the slot is also used for four weekly flights between Tokyo (TYO) and HNL. United is expected to commence flights to Haneda from Hawaii in May.
Low Demand from Japan
Though international travel has seen a gradual recovery in the past couple of years, the appetite for overseas travel in Japan has not returned to pre-pandemic levels. The weak Japanese yen has also made traveling to Hawaii more expensive than in previous years. Strong domestic demand for travel to Hawaii from within the U.S. has also spiked the cost of visiting Hawaii, resulting in fewer visitors from Japan traveling to Hawaii.
United also plans to launch daily flights between Guam and Haneda. The airline currently operates several daily flights between the Pacific Islands and Tokyo’s main airport, Narita (NRT). Its application states, “United reiterates that for the proposed summer schedule, United flight UA849 will depart Guam at 7 p.m. and arrive at Haneda at 10 p.m. the same day. On the return, flight UA849 will depart Haneda at 11:55 p.m. and arrive at Guam at 4:45 a.m. the next day.”
Featured image: United Airlines Boeing 787-9 N24974. Photo: Joao Pedro Santoro/Airways