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Hawaiian Airlines resent DOT decision allowing Delta Haneda slot

Hawaiian Airlines had great dreams of launching a daily flight service between Kona Airport on the Big Island and Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport. But this seems to be shattering now.

Mark Dunkerley, President and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, has strongly resented the recent decision by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) allowing Delta Air Lines retain its slot at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo. He said that this apparently indicates a bias in favor of business travelers over tourism and leisure travel.

Hawaiian Airlines had earlier filed an application with the DOT in January 2015 seeking approval to launch a daily flight between Tokyo Haneda and Kona Airport. However, the DOT decided to allow Delta Air Lines to continue operating flights between Tokyo Haneda and Seattle as usual.

It may be noted that Delta Air Lines had curtailed its winter service on Tokyo Haneda-Seattle route. It was awarded the Tokyo Haneda slot in 2013 only on the condition that it will operate daily flights on the route. Despite the failure to keep with its promise the DOT had allowed Delta Air Lines to keep Haneda slot with it. Dunkerely said that the DOT decision in favor of Delta is therefore “tremendously disappointing” for Hawaiian Airlines.

Media reports quoted Dunkerley as saying that the DOT has again failed to appreciate the geography of Hawaii Islands, which is the 50th state of the United States. He said that Honolulu and Kona are two different markets located on separate islands and with separate communities. Taking swipe at this perceived bias by federal aviation regulators he said that it is indeed painful that Hawaii’s status as No. 1 tourism destination in the country has been ignored.

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