Delta Air Lines Scraps Tokyo Narita Airport For Haneda


Delta Air Lines is set to move its Tokyo operations from Narita to Haneda. The airline has secured an additional five slots to fly to Haneda as part of the latest release by the DOT.

Delta Air Lines Tokyo Haneda
Delta is to move Tokyo operations to Haneda airport. Photo: Russell Lee via Wikimedia

Some airlines, such as Hawaiian Airlines, are using the new slots awarded to operate additional services to Japan. Delta, however, has different plans. With the ability to fly to Haneda from seven origins, it seems counter-intuitive for the airline to utilize two airports in the same city. As such, from Spring 2020, the airline will completely abandon Narita.

Two airports for one city

Tokyo has two airports, Narita and Haneda. Haneda airport is closest to the city center, lying around 10 miles away. However, previously the airport was largely used for domestic operations. An international terminal was opened at the airport in 2010, with daytime international operations commencing in 2014.

The airline will cease Narita operations in early 2020. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia

Narita is slightly further out of the city, around 40 miles in fact. As such, it is not as preferable for travelers as the central location of Haneda. It is, however, bigger, and as such, ANA operates their Airbus A380 Flying Honu from the airport.

Seven cities to Haneda

Delta Air Lines now has the rights to operate flights to Haneda airport from seven different cities according to One Mile At A Time. The airline previously had slots to operate to Haneda from two cities; Los Angeles and Minneapolis.

In addition, the American carrier will begin serving Haneda from Honolulu, Seattle, Portland, Atlanta and Detroit. Recently the Departement of Transport gave out eleven new slots to fly to Haneda from the United States. Of them, Delta got five, which correspond to the five cities listed above. The new changes are expected to go live in the spring of 2020.

The airline has preliminary permission to offer seven routes to Haneda. Photo: Aero Icarus via Wikimedia

Not alone

Delta is not alone in being granted a slot to fly from Honolulu to Haneda. Yesterday, we reported that Hawaiian Airlines would be establishing an additional flight on the route between Honolulu and Tokyo. This will mean that the route is especially well served, as it will have many different carriers offering connections, including ANA’s Flying Honu.

Hawaiian Airlines has also received a preliminary decision from the U.S. Department of Transportation regarding setting up a new service between Honolulu and Tokyo. The airline expects that the new flight will commence in early 2020, just in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Only one airport

While some had expected the airline to operate Haneda flights in addition to Narita, it makes sense for the airline to move its flights with the new slots. Why should the airline have a presence at two airports less than 40 miles from each other? This would unnecessarily increase costs.


What do you think of Delta’s move? Will you find it more convenient? Let us know in the comments!


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Joseph Wilson

Delta Airlines has abandoned its Narita hub that it inherited from Northwest Airlines when it merged with Delta. Previously there were many flights to other Asian cities, including Bangkok. it focus also shifts to Seoul/Inchon with its partnership with Korean Airlines and Chinese airline partners.

Leo Cleary

United Airlines and American have robust connections from Narita International Airport to other Asian cities thru their alliance partners. These cities are popular business and tourist locations. Delta is much more limited in its ability to connect outside of Japan. I wonder if they will continue all seven flights into Haneda after the 2020 Olympics?

Andrew Rogers

Operationally it makes sense. Why fly to two different airports if the opportunity is available. This potential gives bigger economies of scale on landing fees, catering, ground handling, check-in areas, hotel accommodation, I don’t see a problem, plus its closer to the city centre and other districts like Yokahama.


hard to believe northwest wont be at narita. flew for pan am for several years, and in 1974 when narita opened, between pan am and northwest orient, huge presence. how things change. and oops , i mean delta now.

Erik K. Weseman

Although it’s sad that Delta Air Lines is leaving Tokyo Narita International Airport, Narita still has United Airlines and American Airlines and those carriers ARE staying there, due to their joint-venture alliances with Japan’s two main airlines All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines. Now that Delta is concentrating all of their Tokyo operations at Haneda International Airport, they will be restricted there meaning if they want to add even more flights there, the U.S.-Japan “open skies” air services agreement will have to be further amended as Haneda is a restricted airport and all other airports in Japan, including Narita, have no restrictions on airline services passenger and cargo between and beyond the two countries. United and American plus the cargo carriers FedEx, UPS and Polar Air Cargo will be to add more flights at Narita according to market demand, something Delta will not be able to do at Haneda.

Joe vance

Farther not further