For better business opportunities, Delta Airlines in Japan revealed on Wednesday its plan to return to its original hub in Haneda. However, due to aviation limitations imposed by the Japanese government, the airline couldn’t just carry out its plan as it wanted. Delta Airlines CEO Richard Anderson is now calling for Japan to open its skies and allow international airlines to have broader flight ranges in the country. According to the CEO, it will also create better competition among airlines.
Delta has been using the Narita International Airport as its main hub since 1976, but only at the request of the Japanese Government. The Delta Air CEO said that the current policy, which also serves as protection for domestic airlines, puts international carriers at a disadvantage. “I think their measured approach is that they’d like to leave us at the less preferable airport outside of town to advantage the two incumbent flag carriers.” However, Hirokazu Kaneko from Japan Civil Aviation Bureau’s Aviation Industries division said that Haneda has already reached its full capacity. “We’re reaching a point where adding more slots would become an issue of safety,” Kanenko said.
Haneda Airport, which is the hub for most domestic airlines, is closer to central Tokyo compared to Narita International Airport. Such distance to most of the commercial locations is expected to be favoured by most travelers. The airport is also said to include daytime slots for long distance flights, expected to be mostly international ones. “We look forward to the Japanese government opening up the skies, because we do not have open skies in Japan right now,” said Anderson, who initially thought of the potential profits the move to Haneda could bring.
According to Yoshihisa Akai, head of the Japan Aviation Management Research, “Slots in Haneda are extremely valuable because it draws so many travelers so naturally, it’s very competitive.” In order to return to Haneda, the airline is in need of 25 more plane slots. “With so much competition” Akai believes that it’s “unlikely” for Delta to be able to get all the slots it wants. But in spite of the number of possible competition for those slots, it is also unlikely for Delta Airlines to back off. Anderson even said that the Delta is open for collaboration with the country’s number one carrier, Japan Airlines.