Both airlines' inaugural services from the Japanese capital's newly expanded gateway departed within minutes of one another on the morning of February 20, local...

British Airways and American Airlines have both launched their new Tokyo Haneda International Airport flights – strengthening the leading position of the oneworld airline alliance at Asia’s newest international hub.

Both airlines’ inaugural services from the Japanese capital’s newly expanded gateway departed within minutes of one another on the morning of February 20, local time.

British Airways is operating Haneda’s only route to the UK, serving the airport an initial five times a week non-stop from its London Heathrow hub, in addition to its established daily Tokyo Narita schedule.

British Airways Boeing 777-200ER G-YMMD takes off from London Heathrow Airport, England. The undercarriage has just begun retraction

American  Airlines is now offering the only flights between Tokyo Haneda and New York, with its daily JFK schedule complementing Japan Airlines’ established service between Haneda and San Francisco.  Both services carry the codes of both airlines.

With Japan Airlines serving Paris Charles de Gaulle from Tokyo Haneda since October, oneworld was already the only alliance with airlines connecting the Japanese airport with Europe. Now its airlines offer a choice of two European routes.

American’s and BA’s debut services were marked by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Tokyo Haneda hosted by American’s Vice-President and Managing Director Asia/Pacific Theo Panagiotoulias and British Airways’ Area General Manager Asia Pacific Jamie Cassidy, joined by Japan Airlines President Masaru Onishi.

“We are very excited by this new flight that links two of the world’s largest financial markets and offers passengers the ability to fly from New York to Haneda, the closest airport to downtown Tokyo, and which hasn’t had service from the USA since 1978 when Tokyo’s Narita International Airport opened,” said Panagiotoulias. “We also are pleased to be offering this new service as part of our new transpacific joint venture with our valued oneworld partner, Japan Airlines.”

Cassidy added: “Today is a historic day for British Airways as we start our new route from Haneda, which compliments our existing service from Narita. The start of this route allows us to offer our customers greater choice and flexibility. We are proud to be the only carrier operating from Haneda direct to the UK. The start of this service demonstrates our commitment to Japan and the deepening of our growing relationship with JAL.”

“Japan Airlines began operating on new international routes from Haneda at the end of October last year.  Passenger numbers have been very encouraging and are a good indication of the demand for flights to and from Haneda,” said Onishi.

At Tokyo Haneda Airport, oneworld says it offers:

● The airport’s most extensive international network, serving 12 destinations with 19 departures most days, including the only flights between Haneda and Europe, with services to both London Heathrow and Paris CDG, and New York and San Francisco, in the USA;

● More international capacity to and from Tokyo Haneda than any other alliance;

● The biggest domestic schedule at what is also Japan’s biggest domestic hub;

● Minimum international-to-domestic connecting times considerably faster than competition, at just 70 minutes; and

● A host of new facilities for passengers, to ensure the smoothest and most comfortable of journeys on the ground whether they are arriving, departing or transiting.

American Airlines operates most if not all of its transpacific services with Boeing 777-200ERs. The airline had 47 in service as of October 2010, with seven more on order

Haneda is the most convenient airport serving Tokyo for customers travelling to or from the city centre. From its own station served by the Tokyo Monorail and the Keikyu train line, it takes less than 30 minutes to travel to or from downtown.  As Japan’s main hub for domestic flights, it also provides the widest range of options for connections to and from cities throughout the country.

It was reopened to international scheduled services in October after a 32-year break as it inaugurated a fourth runway and third passenger terminal, which is a brand-new facility dedicated to international flights.

Japan Airlines serves 10 international destinations from Haneda – Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Paris, San Francisco, Seoul Gimpo, Shanghai Hongqaio, Singapore and Taipei Songshan. Cathay Pacific operates from the airport to its Hong Kong hub.

Domestically, JAL is also Haneda’s biggest operator, with 185 daily departures serving 33 points across Japan.

In addition to the new flight from Haneda to New York JFK, American and its partner Japan Airlines also offer non-stop daily service from Tokyo’s Narita Airport to JFK.  American flies between the USA and Tokyo using Boeing 777-200ERs with 247 seats – 16 in First Class, 37 in Business Class and 194 in Economy Class.

Flight AA135 departs JFK daily at 6:10 p.m., arriving at Haneda at 10:15 p.m. the following day, local time. Return flight AA134 depart Haneda at 6:40 a.m. daily, landing at JFK at 5:15 a.m. the same day, local time.

With the launch of the its new five-times-a-week service from Haneda in addition to its daily Tokyo Narita schedule, British Airways will operate 12 flights a week between Tokyo and London Heathrow.

Flight BA7 to Haneda departs London Heathrow on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 8:00 a.m., landing at Haneda at 5:00 a.m. the next day, local time. Return flight BA8 departs Haneda on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 6:25 a.m., arriving at Heathrow at 10:00 a.m. the same day, local time.

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