Ben van Lierop
Japan America Society of Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS (Feb. 5, 2016) — In 2007 Northwest Airlines celebrated 60 years of flying from Minnesota to Japan. Now that daily flight service from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Tokyo may be in question. The issue is the increase in use of Tokyo’s Haneda Airport for international flights between the U.S. and Japan for U.S. air carriers. Presently Delta has a major hub for Asia at Narita Airport that serves the direct flight from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Tokyo.
The Japanese government and the U.S. Department of Transportation will be making an agreement in early February concerning limited increase in flights into Haneda Airport for U.S. and Japanese air carriers. Delta Air Lines believes that further increase in the opening of landing rights will put Delta at a disadvantage with their U.S. competitors, United Airlines and America Airlines, due to their partnerships with Japanese air carriers. The fear is that Haneda will become more popular for travelers going to Tokyo, and other Asian cities, and that Narita will no longer be profitable as a hub for Delta, and the flight from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Narita may be discontinued.
This may seem like a fight only for Delta to engage in, but a closer looks shows that there is more to this. An official of Delta said earlier last week that the discontinuation of the direct flight would hurt the international business activities of the state of Minnesota. Jeff Hamiel, the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport commission’s chief executive said, “Minnesota businesses need access to Asia [and] one of the reasons Minneapolis-St. Paul enjoys a concentration of Fortune 500 companies … is because of connectivity to global markets, easy access to Europe and Asia”. (Star Tribune, Jan. 20, 2016, p. A7)
Your help is needed. Please consider calling or sending an email to the Department of Transportation to request that Tokyo Haneda Airport be fully open to international competition and allow all air carriers to compete on an equal basis. Thank you for your support of this petition. The contact information is written below.
Ben van Lierop, JASM executive director
Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx
Phone: (202) 366-1111
Chief of Staff: Dan Katz
Phone: (202) 366-9201
If you would like to read an article regarding this issue by JASM President Elizabeth Brailsford in Pioneer Press, please go to the link here.