DOT: Delta Can Keep SEA-HND…but it’s AA’s if the flight isn’t operated daily!

The DOT has completed their review of Delta’s SEA-HND slots after formal requests from both American and Hawaiian. The decision states that Delta will get to maintain their daily slot pair in the interest of “consumer competition”, however they will have new requirements placed upon them including operating the flight 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If Delta defaults on their performance obligation, AA will have backup authority on their proposed LAX-HND route.

Any failure, without a Department-granted waiver, to perform a Seattle-Haneda flight, and any failure, without a Department-granted waiver, to perform a Haneda-Seattle flight, on each and every day of every week (7 days a week, 365 days a year), will constitute a violation of Delta’s Seattle-Haneda authority subject to enforcement.

Any failure,without a Department-granted waiver, to perform Seattle-Haneda flights, and any failure,without a Department-granted waiver, to perform Haneda-Seattle flights, on two days of any seven-day period (365 days a year) will constitute a default of Delta’s Seattle-Haneda authority and that authority will automatically expire.

Wow, essentially the department is telling Delta that they need to operate this flight daily year round or the route authority will pass to AA. It will be interesting to see if Delta is willing to take a loss on the flight in the 4th quarter when they typically cannot fill the seats…especially with their complementary SEA-NRT service.

“Delta thanks the U.S. Department of Transportation for its tentative decision to allow the airline to continue its service between Seattle and Haneda Airport in Tokyo. After an extensive review, the DOT concluded that Delta’s Seattle-Haneda service provides the best public use of the available slot pair between the U.S. and Haneda Airport. Earlier this month, Delta resumed its nonstop service between Seattle and Haneda after a temporary seasonal suspension. Delta will operate year-round, nonstop flights between Seattle and Haneda as we continue to grow Delta’s international gateway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.”

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