Thanks to various open sky agreements between the U.S. and foreign countries, airlines have been able to secure more international routes lately to some of the world’s busiest airports particularly in Asia and Western Europe.
The Associated Press reports that Delta will launch direct service this weekend from Detroit and Los Angeles to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, the world’s fourth busiest. The airport has traditionally only served regional and domestic flights over the past three decades but due to its proximity to downtown Tokyo, it has become a desirable airport for international travelers.
Delta is investing nearly $2 billion around the world in the next three years in order to enhance its brand amid growing competition from “luxury” airlines around the world. The investment also comes at a time where Delta is looking to increase its international presence and the addition of the Haneda flights is clearly an important starting point for the airline.
But Delta isn’t the only airline looking to take advantage of new routes to Haneda. American Airlnes will also begin a direct flight to Haneda today from New York’s JFK International Airport according to the USA Today.
That article points out that the recent Open Skies Agreement between the U.S. and Japan, signed in October, along with a massive expansion at Haneda that added a fourth runway and a new international terminal, has allowed more international airlines to begin servicing the airport. Hawaiian Airlines, Delta, and American were among the initial carriers to secure routes to Haneda under the new agreement.
Delta’s international expansion will not stop in Tokyo, however. The airline is adding expanded service to London Heathrow from Miami and Boston along with a new flight from Atlanta to Shanghai and new regional routes in Asia from Narita and Nagoya, both also in Tokyo.
Delta’s London presence has benefitted from a separate Open Skies Agreement between the U.S. and the United Kingdom which has allowed the airline to go from having no flights to Heathrow in 2007 to 10 daily flights by this summer according to a press release from Delta.