Tokyo's Haneda airport adds international routes
Monday 21 February 2011
Tokyo's Haneda airport boosted its international connections on Sunday as three new routes were launched linking it to London, New York and Detroit.
British Airways started operating five flights a week between Haneda and Heathrow while an American Airlines plane left for New York's John F. Kennedy on the return leg of the inaugural daily round-trip flight.
Delta Airlines also launched its regular Haneda-Detroit service.
Haneda is just 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Tokyo city centre but has been used mainly for domestic flights since the 1978 opening of Narita international airport.
Passengers complain that travelling the 60 kilometres to the Japanese capital from Narita can add more than an hour to journey times and Haneda has sought to capitalise on the disquiet with an expanded international service.
Delta was due to start up another route between Haneda and Los Angeles early Monday, taking the total number of foreign connections to 16.
Destinations also include Paris, Honolulu, Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul and Singapore.
Haneda airport, which opened in 1931, offered mainly domestic flights after Narita was built until last October when a new runway and passenger terminal were opened.
The expansion was aimed at making the airport a 24-hour international hub that would boost Tokyo as an Asian gateway.
But the global economic slowdown has blown the plan off course, with American Airlines postponing a plan for a Haneda-JFK service, Kyodo news agency said.
Air Canada has put on hold its plan to start a daily service between Haneda and Vancouver because demand, particularly from higher-paying business travellers, has fallen short of projections, Kyodo said.
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