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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 7, 2010

Hawaiian Air gets tentative OK for Honolulu-to-Haneda route

Advertiser Staff

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

The newest addition to the Hawaiian Airlines' fleet, an Airbus A330-200, will fly the Honolulu-to-Haneda route.

BRUCE ASATO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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The U.S. Department of Transportation has tentatively approved one of two slots sought by Hawaiian Airlines' for daily service between Honolulu and Tokyo's Haneda Airport.

Hawaiian's President and CEO Mark Dunkerley welcomed the news, but said the airline would ask the DOT to reconsider granting the second route.

"We are delighted at the prospect of being able to start new service to Tokyo soon. This is exciting news for all of us at Hawaiian," Dunkerley said.

"We had applied for two round trips and remain convinced that our proposal would produce far greater benefits to competition than the other proposals and plan to ask the DOT to reconsider granting Hawaiian a second daily round trip," Dunkerley said.

Hawaiian would initially use its 264-seat Boeing 767-300ER on the route before adding its new 294-seat Airbus A330-200, Dunkerley said.

In its decision, the DOT said selecting Hawaiian Airlines, which currently does not serve Japan, would add a new competitor to the U.S.-Tokyo market. Hawaiian plans to begin flights to Haneda in late October.

The route was one of four from the U.S. to Haneda tentatively approved by the DOT.

The agency also gave tentative approval to Delta for two routes to Haneda and American Airlines for one route. Applications by Continental and United airlines were rejected.

Delta was approved to fly from Los Angeles and Detroit to Haneda, while American received approval to fly from New York to Haneda.

Hawaiian Airlines would "achieve the important objective of enhancing competition in the U.S.-Tokyo market as a new entrant," the DOT said in its decision.

"As the provider of one of four new U.S. carrier services at Haneda, Hawaiian's entry into the Japanese market should be a positive development in terms of offering greater choice to travelers as well as increased competition in the U.S.-Japan market."

The DOT said objections to its tentative ruling must be filed within 10 days, and answers to the objections are due seven days after that. At the close of the comment period the department will issue a final decision.