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Delta was awarded two of the four daily round-trip flights that U.S. airlines are allotted to run to Haneda Airport in 2010. Delta operated flights from Detroit and Los Angeles until July 30, when Delta requested to move its Detroit service to Seattle. Hawaiian, American, and United all submitted alternative proposals to take over the open slot.
Hawaiian Airlines made a strong case for a service between Kona and Tokyo due to strong tourism ties between the two destinations. The only non-stop flight from Hawaii to Japan is through Honolulu.
Bill Mosley of the DOT explained to Skift that the final decision depended on which location would best serve the most Americans. Seattle represents a major international hub that has the potential to connect other Western cities to Tokyo with only one stop. There is currently no direct service between Seattle and Tokyo.
WIth only four round-trip flights connecting U.S. airlines to Japan, priority is given to the airport with the greatest potential for connecting smaller hubs and more passengers.