Delta Airlines announces withdrawl of operations from Tokyo-Narita



The Facts

After being awarded 5 slots at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, Delta Airlines is set to withdraw operations from Tokyo-Narita International Airport in 2020. This news comes with Delta announcing the end of their Tokyo to Singapore flight on September 22, 2019 and the replacement of their Tokyo to Manila flight with a Seoul to Manila route in March 2020.

Delta is shifting focus from being self-reliant on intra-Asian routes to depending on their Joint Venture with Korean Air. Consequently, they moved to the more accessible and convenient Tokyo airport, as more people would fly to/from there, and cut all their fifth-freedom and 1-stop routes in Asia (Except for Seoul to Manila). In addition, regional carriers have an advantage over Delta on intra-Asian flights, more destinations are available when flying through Seoul, and longer haul flights connect US and Asian cities more easily than flights with a stop.

Delta’s lack of a joint venture at Tokyo Narita, Haneda having lower transport times between the airport and Tokyo than Narita, and, ultimately, the USDOT granting Delta more slots at Haneda contributed to the transfer.

Below is an infographic concerning Delta’s relocation to Haneda:


The Opinion

The announcement of Delta’s move to Tokyo Haneda was saddening, as Tokyo Narita is my third favorite airport and Delta is my favorite airline. Although I have never flown Delta to Narita, I have seen their aircraft there multiple times.

Delta has been scaling operations at Narita back for years. They inherited the hub and the fifth freedom flights that came with it when they merged with Northwest, but with the advent of ultra long haul flights, they decided to axe their 1-stop routes. When I last flew to Narita, Delta operated flights to Guam and Bangkok, as well as many other Asian destinations, however all but the Singapore and Manila flights have been cut.

In addition to routes being axed, many aircraft which were operated by Delta and flew regularly to NRT have either been retired or relocated. For example, 747-400s operated the DTW-NRT route before it was retired, and 757-200s operated the NRT-GUM, NRT-SPN, and NRT-ROR routes before they were cut.


Delta’s existing Narita flights and their Haneda flights after the transfer

Current Narita Flights

Flight Number Departure Airport Arrival Airport Aircraft Termination Date
Delta 296 Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT/RJAA) Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL/KATL) Boeing 777-200LR 2020
Delta 276 Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT/RJAA) Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW/KDTW) Airbus A350-900 2020
Delta 180 Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT/RJAA) Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL/PHNL) Boeing 767-300ER 2020
Delta 181 Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT/RJAA) Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL/RPLL) Boeing 767-300ER March 2020
Delta 68 Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT/RJAA) Portland International Airport (PDX/KPDX) Boeing 767-300ER 2020
Delta 166 Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT/RJAA) Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (SEA/KSEA) Airbus A350-900 2020
Delta 169 Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT/RJAA) Singapore Changi Airport (SIN/WSSS) Boeing 767-300ER September 22, 2019

Post-Transfer Haneda Flights

Flight Number Departure Airport Arrival Airport Aircraft Launch Date
N/A Tokyo Haneda International Airport (HND/RJTT) Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL/KATL) N/A 2020
N/A Tokyo Haneda International Airport (HND/RJTT) Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW/KDTW) N/A 2020
N/A Tokyo Haneda International Airport (HND/RJTT) Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL/PHNL) N/A 2020
Delta 6 Tokyo Haneda International Airport (HND/RJTT) Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) Airbus A350-900 March 30, 2013*
Delta 120 Tokyo Haneda International Airport (HND/RJTT) Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport (MSP/KMSP) Boeing 777-200ER October 30, 2016
N/A Tokyo Haneda International Airport (HND/RJTT) Portland International Airport (PDX/KPDX) N/A 2020
N/A Tokyo Haneda International Airport (HND/RJTT) Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (SEA/KSEA) N/A 2020

|*| - March 30, 2013 was the earliest date I could find this flight operating on routesonline.com.


Delta aircraft I spotted at RJAA
Airline Aircraft Registration Delivery Date Airframe Status
Delta Air lines Boeing 767-332(ER)(WL) N193DN August 1997 Active

Airline Aircraft Registration Delivery Date Airframe Status
Delta Air lines Boeing 747-451 N662US March 1989 Stored


What do you think about Delta’s withdrawal of operations from Narita?

  • I want them to stay at Narita
  • It’s better that they transferred to Haneda
  • I don’t care

0 voters

Should I make more posts like this?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters


Sources

Delta Logo Credit
1000logos)

Tokyo Narita Airport Picture Credit
Nikkei Asian Review)

Infographic Credit
Delta News Hub)

Delta Aircraft Picture Credits - @Azure

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Source 2

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Source 6

Thanks to onemileatatime.com for the article, flightaware.com and routesonline.com for the route information, and planespotters.net for the airframe information!


Note

Please do not use my photos without permission!

29 Likes

Thanks for the info. This is interesting. Delta is a huge company and I fly with them all the time. Literally. Over 600 flights with them. So this is interesting. Idk what to think to be honest

2 Likes

Oh dang. I didn’t realize Azure posted this lol

1 Like

I love how this was internally leaked and now everyone knows about it. Amazing.

Other than that, this move was very much expected after the DOT awarded all of DL’s choices except for the 2nd daily HNL frequency.

However, this brings up an issue. The DOT allocations were meant to give passengers more choices and increase competition for better fares. DL is straight up cutting NRT in favor on HND, resulting in practically a zero increase in Tokyo capacity.

I wouldn’t be surprised if American and United protest this action, as it’s not best for the consumer. However, we must keep in mind Delta has no Tokyo partner while American has a JV with JAL and United a JV with ANA.

6 Likes

What even. How did you figure this out?

1 Like

It was originally sent to I believe Delta employees. Then some people leaked it and bloggers and websites picked it up.

1 Like

Hmm… didn’t quite see this one coming but I do see the tactics in changing to Haneda.


Now my personal opinion about HND and NRT is that from a passengers perspective is that HND is far better i my opinion than NRT but that’s just me.



As for from a Economic perspective, in terms of revenue made by profitability of the route as to how many passengers will fly to HND with Delta, then the location of these of airports play a significant role in where passengers what to fly to and also where airlines try to get a slot at.

HND has since opening up for International service, grown to become one of the largest airport in the world, in terms of passengers passing tho annually.



For Delta to move completely out of NRT is slightly odd but moving more operations to HND will be in favor of the passengers, ultimately being a more profitable business for them. But we’ll have to wait and see how things turn out, though I would say that, now those flying to Tokyo with Delta, are gonna be 30-45mins away from the City centre rather than 1.5-2.5hrs away from Tokyo Central Station, when landing in NRT.

Though there is one downside… I don’t see them growing larger than what they are now in Japanese market by completely cutting out from NRT. That may as well oppose as a issue…

5 Likes

They’ve been scaling down at Narita for years. I believe they inherited the hub and the fifth freedom flights that came with it when they merged with Northwest, but with the advent of ultra long haul flights, they decided to axe the 1-stop routes. When I last flew to Narita, Delta operated flights to Guam and Bangkok, as well as many other Asian destinations, however all but the Singapore and Manila flights have been cut.

As for their presence in Tokyo, they will have the same destinations, save for Manila and Singapore, but all at one airport.

2 Likes

They used to have flights to Koror, Saipan, Guangzhou, and a few others. This move was imminent and was accelerated by the HND slots.

1 Like

I can see why they kept Singapore, being a International Economic Hub, for enterprises and commerce.

Moving to HND, I do believe will be profitable for them. At least the passengers will find themselves in a much a efficient transitioning between Plane and local transit and be in the City in 30mins. The time you city getting to your accommodation or place of destination in Tokyo or nearby cities, is cut by a lot. Delta will most likely gain from moving to HND based on Haneda Airports location and distance of travel to the city centre.

In that sense, also with the 2020 Olympics coming up, I can see that they looking into the future ahead of what we see and have today, to prepare for a hectic summer next year as well as a continuous growth in the Asian Market.

1 Like

Haneda is a tad bit bigger I think. And it’s closer to the city center like previously mentioned. So it’s good for the passengers. I don’t know what’s the difference between the two airports in terms of operations, etc. So I’m pretty neutral

1 Like

Nah… tad is a severe understatement…

In 2018, HND reported 87 million passengers while NRT reported 42 million.

I believe NRT has a ton more international flights to other continents. HND has more domestic flights on widebodies, due to slot restrictions. HND opened up slots to international carriers about a decade ago, so it’s still relatively new.

2 Likes

I haven’t been to HND IRL, so I am a bit biased to NRT.

However, it looks like Delta made a good decision with their transfer.

1 Like

Didn’t know that! :D Pretty cool. So I’d guess it could be viewed as a business move to increase connections through Tokyo.

2 Likes

Haha, I’m more of the opposite. Haven’t been to NRT in about 12 years. I went to HND for the first time in 2017 and I’ve gone twice this year. It’s a really beautiful airport, but I’m sure NRT’s great as well.

1 Like

Pretty much, without any connecting partner in TYO, it’s best for Delta to gain as much local traffic from Tokyo and funnel them towards its hubs in the U.S. where they can connect onto other cities.

2 Likes

Awesome post! Sorry I voted for “No” on the last poll, I bumped the wrong one lol.

1 Like

Delta’s biggest partner in asia is Korean Air, whose main hub is in Seoul. I believe Delta doesn’t have any JVs with an airline in Tokyo.

@Ishrion, Narita is a modern airport which is easy to navigate and fun to spot in. I sat at 1 gate at NRT, and over the course of around 45 minutes, I saw many aircraft, ranging from a Korean Air 747 to a private Gulfstream.

1 Like

Press ‘Hide Details’ and click on the option you would like to choose if you picked the wrong one ;)

HND is pretty much a ton of widebodies flying to Japanese cities. I think NRT has a train between terminals? I’m not sure if HND has that between the domestic and international terminal.

1 Like