Big changes are afoot at Delta it seems, with their vaunted trans-Pacific network taking another huge hit.
The biggest news comes in the form of the airline supposedly cutting its JFK – Tokyo Narita flight meaning it is completely exiting the New York to Tokyo market – something quite astounding for an airline of DL’s size between two major global hubs for the airline. Equally astounding is that it leaves no SkyTeam carriers on the route. Take a second to think about this. As a Delta or SkyTeam elite flying from New York to Tokyo, you will have no nonstop option – you will either have to transit in Seoul or elsewhere in the US to get there on SkyTeam metal. Make of that what you will.
Other changes include axing Narita-Bangkok which means the complete closure of the Bangkok station, just as United had done last year. Osaka Kansai will also be cut from Narita, which means the end of Delta’s intra-Japan services and most likely the end of 757 ops for the airline in Japan.
Furthermore rumors persist that the historic Minneapolis St-Paul to Narita service will also be axed in favor of a service to Haneda (pending government approval). What this (and indeed what all the Narita de-hubbing) means for Delta’s tag on flights to Hong Kong, Taipei, Manila and Singapore from Tokyo Narita remains to be seen but without much connecting feed from the US mainland, it isn’t looking good. While loads remain healthy yields are bottom of the barrel so MNL is in real danger here, HKG and TPE see direct service from the US so are questionable tag ons. Only Singapore seems to be secure what with very robust yields and load factors and the fact that Delta don’t have the aircraft to operate SIN non-stop from the continental US.
So to sum up, this is what the three major alliance schedules on the New York (EWR/JFK combined) to Tokyo (NRT/HND combined) look like for the coming year:
- Star Alliance: 3x daily (UA from EWR, NH from JFK)
- oneworld: 2x daily (AA and JL from JFK)
- SkyTeam: n/a
I say again, astounding.
With all that’s being going on, keep an eye out for any and all transpac service from Seattle and Portland…surely they are under threat as well…