American Airlines has been awarded final approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation to operate daily, year-round, nonstop service between New York John F....

American Airlines has been awarded final approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation to operate daily, year-round, nonstop service between New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Haneda International Airport (HND) near downtown Tokyo, connecting two of the world’s principal financial centers.

The new service also will complement two daily flights that American Airlines’ oneworld partner, Japan Airlines (JAL), plans to operate between Tokyo Haneda and the U.S., which would give oneworld the most daily nonstop U.S.-Haneda flights of any aviation alliance.

“We are excited about beginning to fly between New York and Tokyo Haneda, the closest airport to downtown Tokyo, which hasn’t had service from the U.S since 1978 when Tokyo’s Narita International Airport opened,” says Will Ris, American’s senior vice president – government affairs. “We thank U.S. Department of Transportation officials for their thorough review of our application and final decision granting us this new route.”

The Boeing 777-200ER is a mainstay of American Airlines' long-haul international network

“The new service will strengthen our relationship with our oneworld partner, Japan Airlines, which has extensive operations at Haneda, and benefit our respective customers as oneworld will offer more daily frequencies between the U.S. and Haneda than any other alliance,” says Craig Kreeger, American’s senior vice president – international. “With almost 70 million annual passengers, Haneda is the busiest airport in Asia, and the fourth busiest airport in the world. We look forward to working more closely with Japan Airlines at its Haneda facilities.”

“JAL will initiate service to San Francisco and Honolulu from Haneda this autumn and we look forward to leveraging on the collective synergy that both oneworld members can create at one of the most strategic airports in a region of growth. This will significantly heighten competition with the other alliances and thereby deliver a host of benefits to consumers,” says Tsutomu Ando, executive officer of international affairs at Japan Airlines.

“The proximity of Haneda to central Tokyo will make it all the more inviting for Americans to visit our fascinating city and experience its many attractions, including the finest in culture, food, sports and entertainment,” says Shuichi Kameyama, Executive Director, New York Office, of the Japan National Tourism Organization. “Haneda also provides access to great rail and bus connections throughout Tokyo and the surrounding area.”

American will serve the JFK- Tokyo Haneda route starting January 20, 2011, with 247-seat Boeing 777-200ERs, which in American’s configuration carry 16 passengers in First Class, 37 in Business Class, and 194 in Economy Class. American will announce its JFK-Tokyo Haneda schedule shortly.

The carrier already operates nonstop service to Tokyo Narita (which is a lot further away from downtown Tokyo than Haneda) using Boeing 777-200ERs from Chicago (daily), Dallas/Fort Worth (twice daily), Los Angeles (daily), and New York JFK (daily). Under a codeshare arrangement between JAL and American, JAL displays its JL code on each of American’s U.S.-Tokyo flights and American displays the AA code on daily flights operated by JAL between Narita and Chicago, Los Angeles, New York JFK and San Francisco.

On February 12, American and JAL filed a joint application with the DOT for antitrust immunity to operate a joint business between North America and Asia. Subject to government approvals, the planned joint business – which would be similar in nature to the transatlantic joint business for which American, British Airways and Iberia have already received preliminary DOT and European Union approval – would allow for greater cooperation between American and JAL, enhance competition, and improve air services on transpacific routes, according to American.