In a long anticipated move, Atlanta-based Delta Airlines will officially end its flights to Tokyo-Narita (NRT), and transfer its focus in the Tokyo area to Haneda.

Among the big changes will be the shift of its current flights between the US and Narita to Haneda, which is expected to be done during the spring of 2020. The move follows the awarding of five new flight slots by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) at Haneda. At present, Delta’s US-bound routes from Narita include Atlanta, Detroit, Honolulu, Portland, and Seattle. The services to those cities will join Delta’s Los Angeles and Minneapolis flights out of Haneda, located closer to Tokyo center versus Narita (60 kilometers).

Included in the move will be the end of Delta’s long-running intra-Asia routes from Narita to Singapore and Manila. The daily Narita-Singapore flights will end on September 22, while the daily Narita-Manila flights will end around the spring of 2020. While it will exit the Singapore market, it will transfer its Manila flights to Seoul when the Narita flights end.

Delta’s decision to transfer to Haneda marks the end of the airline’s long-standing presence at Narita. The hub was acquired after its merger with Northwest Airlines, where it made its trans-Pacific hub and a key transit point for travelers between North America and Asia. At its peak, Delta/Northwest had flights from Narita to key Asian and Pacific destinations such as Bangkok, Taipei, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guam, and Saipan.

However, with its US-based rivals United and American securing local alliance partners (All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines) to offer connecting options, Delta has been at a competitive disadvantage in Japan. The airline has now shifted its focus in the Asia-Pacific to Seoul-Incheon, where it has formed a joint venture with SkyTeam partner Korean Air.


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