The end of March brings with it the start of the new airline traffic schedule for many international routes. For Star Alliance members operating to and from Tokyo this year’s shift is particularly interesting as it shifts a number of flights from Narita to Haneda, the generally more desirable and convenient Tokyo airport.
Much of the expansion at Haneda comes from a recent slot allocation where ANA was granted a number of new long-haul route authorities. The carrier will be adding service to Vancouver, Singapore, Paris and Hanoi from Haneda. ANA will also be shifting its Frankfurt and London Heathrow service from Narita to Haneda; one of the daily Bangkok flights will also move from Narita to Haneda.
Lufthansa is getting in on the action as well, offering up non-stop service from both Frankfurt and Munich to Haneda. Service to Narita will remain only as a through flight from Frankfurt via Osaka. And, later in the summer, Air Canada will be adding service from Toronto to Haneda while keeping the existing Narita service levels. And there’s also United Airlines which is hoping to be able to provide service to Haneda from San Francisco, taking over the route authority ceded by American Airlines late last year.
Overall the adjustments mark a significant shift in the movement of Star Alliance passengers via Tokyo. In many ways it marks a change from Tokyo as a connecting point to a destination in its own right (long-haul connection options at Haneda remain weak, despite this growth). United is dismantling its NRT mini-hub and even Delta is cutting the connection banks there in favor of direct flights from the USA. And the part where Haneda is significantly more convenient for most passengers going to or from downtown Tokyo should not be overlooked.
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Last I checked, ANA hard production going from US->HND was usually inferior to the product going into NRT. Is this still the case?
Yes, the HND-LAX flight is an old config 772. The new service will be a lot of 77Ws so shouldn’t have that problem.
Seth … Can you elaborate on, and explain implications of, what you mean by “United is dismantling its NRT mini-hub”
I agree these moves appear to weaken Tokyo for Star Alliance connections.
An example that will hit me personally is NZ remaining at NRT. Currently there are good options on both LH and NH to Europe but these won’t work following the switch.
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