In the coming days, we should see an announcement from either Delta Airlines, American Airlines, or the Department of Transportation (DOT) announcing that Delta will relinquish its rights to the Seattle (SEA) to Haneda (HND) slots after vigorously defending it against American earlier this year.
According to a DOT filing, Delta specifically mentions:
“We have determined that it is not commercially feasible to operate the slots allocated to Delta
for Seattle-Haneda service on a consistent daily basis year-round because: (i) demand for
Seattle-Haneda service is highly variable, peaking in the summer and declining in the winter;
and (ii) Delta lacks a Japan airline partner to provide connectivity beyond Haneda to points in
Japan and other countries in Asia.”
Last winter, Delta operated the SEA-HND route only for one week out of every 90 days between October 2014 and March 2015. Delta has struggled to provide daily service for this route given that it claims that the route is seasonal in nature, peaking in the summer months and diminishing in the winter months.
The June 15, 2015 DOT Final Order states the following:
“The Department has decided to make final its tentative decision to continue allocation of this slot pair to Delta for daily scheduled combination services between Seattle and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, subject to the strengthened conditions and protective measures proposed in Order 2015- 3-17, and described below, which are designed to ensure that Delta maintains year-round daily service in the market. The Department has also decided to make final its selection of American as the backup carrier for its proposed Los Angeles-Haneda service should Delta not meet the additional conditions and requirements now attached to this slot pair authority”
Therefore, since Delta forfeited the slot, American will automatically gain the HND slot they campaigned for earlier this year. Sounds a bit silly to fight to keep a slot and then give it up just a couple of months later.
Yay moment for AAdvantage frequent flyers? Maybe. The route is messy, sometimes it is in demand, other times it isn’t.
Read Delta’s memorandum relinquishing the route: DLmemorandum
Download & Read the Final Order: 2015-6-14_-_Final_Order