A new agreement between US and Japanese aviation authorities has started a new race for coveted flight slots at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

The new slots - expected to be available during the start of the 2020 summer travel season – has the US Department of Transportation already accepting applications from US carriers for what will be half of the new flight slots per day that are going to be open.

The additional availability of slots at Haneda Airport comes as an agreement between the US and Japan will allow commercial aircraft to pass through US military controlled airspace around nearby Yokota Air Base. Half of the slots will go to Japanese carriers and the other to American based airlines, with discussions ongoing for flights to destinations in Asia and Europe.

In a statement, the US Department of Transportation stated: “On this basis, US carriers would need to file applications with the Japanese authorities for Haneda takeoff and landing slot times by October 2019.”

Haneda – located closer to central Tokyo compared to Narita – has been the subject of airlines looking for the coveted flight slots. While it has been the main domestic hub for the Tokyo area, it has gradually opened up more to international air traffic after it opened up a new terminal and additional runway.

Among the US airlines, American, United, Hawaiian, and Delta have flights to/from Haneda to Los Angeles, Honolulu, Minneapolis, Kona, and San Francisco. American and United operate one daily flight each, while Hawaiian and Delta operate two apiece.

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