Sure, the flight is still long, but thanks to the recent Japan-U.S. open skies agreement, you may soon be able to get to downtown Tokyo a little faster. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has granted three carriers new routes between U.S. departure cities and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.
Back in February, Carl Unger covered news of the battle heating up for the four slots into Haneda available for the first time to U.S. carriers. Until now, U.S. carriers have had access only to Tokyo Narita Airport, 45 miles outside downtown. At about 15 miles from downtown Tokyo, Haneda is a more convenient option for many travelers. According to Terry Maxon at the Dallas Morning News, the new flights will start after the airport’s fourth runway comes into service in October, but before the DOT’s required start date of January 29, 2011.
The airlines to score slots are American, which will fly from New York starting October 1; Delta, with routes from both Detroit and Los Angeles; and Hawaiian Airlines, which will fly from Honolulu.
Though Haneda is getting all the buzz, passengers flying into Tokyo’s other airport, Narita, will soon have an easier time getting downtown. On July 17, the new high-speed Skyliner train debuts, connecting the airport to central Tokyo in 36 minutes, shaving 15 minutes off the current amount of time it takes to connect between airport and city.
Have you flown between the U.S. and Japan? Does this news make you more likely to choose the airlines that will be flying into closer-in Haneda?