United States: Hawaiian Airlines Lashes Out at D.O.T. Haneda Decision

Airlines and Aviation

Mark Dunkerley, President and C.E.O. of Hawaiian Airlines, lashes out at the Department of Transportation for its decision to allow a rival airline to keep one of 4 landing slots at Tokyo's Haneda International Airport.


Green Sea Turtle basks in the sun on Punaluu Beach, a black sand beach on the Big Island, a.k.a. Hawaii. Photo Credit: Brocken Inaglory.


The United States Department of Travel (D.O.T.) tentatively decides to allow Delta Air Lines to keep both of its 2 landing slots at Tokyo Haneda International Airport even though the airline suspended service on one of its 2 routes from the airport during the winter slack season.

In the event that the airline fails to maintain daily service on the Haneda – Seattle route, the slot will be re-assigned to American Airlines, which proposes linking Haneda with Los Angeles International Airport, which Delta Air Lines already does with its other slot.

"The tentative decision issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (D.O.T.) this morning to allow Delta Air Lines to retain the valuable right to fly from Tokyo's Haneda International Airport for largely unused service to Seattle is tremendously disappointing," says Mark Dunkerley, President and C.E.O. of Hawaiian Airlines.

"We are further disappointed that the U.S. DOT has determined that should Delta's planned service continue to fail, the Haneda slots will be assigned to American Airlines. Hawaiian is the only airline to have operated Haneda service continuously and successfully since the slot rights were granted."

The Big Island

Kona is located of the West Coast of Hawaii, the largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is often referred to as 'the Big Island' to avoid confusion since the island's name and the state's name, which collectively refers to all of the islands in the mid-Pacific chain, are one and the same.

Honolulu, the state's capital and largest city, is located 167 miles north of Kona on the island of Oahu. Its airport is slowly but surely being turned into a Hawaiian Airlines hub for the Pacific Rim.

The airline flies from the airport to 11 travel destinations on the U.S. mainland as well as to several countries along the Pacific Rim: American Samoa, 2 cities in Australia, China, 3 cities in Japan, Korea, and Tahiti.

Largest Unserved Market

"Kona is the largest unserved market in this proceeding, and Hawaiian's proposed route would have generated more economic benefit than that offered by either Delta or American," Dunkerley says.

"None of these facts are in dispute by the DOT. Sadly, by dismissing Hawaiian's proposed Kona route as just simply being additive to the routes already serving Hawaii, the DOT has once more failed to appreciate the geography of the 50th state. Kona and Honolulu are separate markets, separate communities, and indeed are located on separate islands."

Does D.O.T. has a pro-business bias?

"The tentative ruling also reveals a long-held institutional bias among decision makers favouring the interests of U.S. business travelers over those of U.S. travel-related businesses and travelers in general," Dunkerley says.

"Our proposal provided more seats and would have resulted in more travelers flying between Japan and the United States than either Delta's or American's proposal.".

Hawaiian Airlines says it will consider its next steps in the days to come.

Click here for interactive travel information by TripAdivsor on Kailua Kona

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Your Response Wanted!

Do you think Hawaiian Airlines should have been awarded a slot to operates flights between Tokyo Haneda Airport and Kona International Airport on the Big Island of Hawaii?

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