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New Tokyo Haneda routes take off

American Airlines is to become the first carrier to offer flights between Tokyo's new international terminal and New York's JFK this weekend.

The airline confirmed February 16 that it will offer a daily service between Tokyo Haneda and JFK beginning February 18, departing JFK at 6:10 PM and making the return hop at 6:40 AM two days later (local time).

Haneda airport, which opened last year, is considerably closer to the Japanese capital than its larger rival Narita and already boasts new routes from several major airlines.

This weekend, British Airways will begin flights to London Heathrow from Haneda, and Japan Airlines already serves Paris and the American city of San Francisco.

American Airlines, which will fly the route with a Boeing 777 capable of carrying 247 passengers, has created a speciality Asian menu for the flight and said that it will offer AAdvantage loyalty points promotions for passengers traveling through May 31 on its website at http://www.aa.com/haneda.

The Japan National Tourism Organization said that the proximity of the airport to Tokyo will "make it all the more inviting for Americans to visit our fascinating city for business and leisure travel, and to experience its many attractions, including the finest in culture, food, sports and entertainment."

Later this month, Lufthansa will also begin a new flight to JFK from its base in Frankfurt, using the A380 superjumbo.

To celebrate the new route, it's giving away several seats on the inaugural flight to people taking part in a new Twitter competition named A380Seat-Tweet - visit http://www.lha380.com to find out more.