Delta Air Lines has announced the schedules for its new daily, year-round flights between Tokyo's near-downtown Haneda International Airport and Detroit and Los Angeles.

Delta Air Lines has announced the schedules for its new daily, year-round flights between Tokyo’s near-downtown Haneda International Airport and Detroit and Los Angeles.

The new flights, which begin on January 29, 2011, are available for sale to customers from Saturday, July 17 at and through other ticketing channels.

Subject to government approval, Delta Air Lines’ Detroit-Haneda flight DL627 will depart from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) at 7:30 p.m. and arrive at Tokyo Haneda International Airport (HND) at 11:00 p.m. the following day local time. The return flight, DL628, is timed to dsepart HND at 6:55 a.m. and arrive at Detroit at 4:50 a.m. the same day, local time.

The carrier’s Los Angeles-Tokyo Haneda flight, DL635, is scheduled to depart Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) at 12:10 a.m. and arrive at HND at 5 a.m. the following day. The return flight, DL636, is timed to leave HND at 1:00 a.m. and arrive at LAX at 6:40 a.m. the previous day, local time. (All the flights cross the international dateline.)

Delta’s new service becomes available for sale following a recent U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) decision giving Delta and its global alliance SkyTeam their first opportunity to compete across the Pacific from Haneda. The DOT also awarded routes to Haneda to American Airlines (from New York JFK) and Hawaiian Airlines (from Honolulu) in its decision, following the signing of an Open Skies agreement between the U.S. and Japan. The take-off and landing slots for the new international routes to and from Haneda will be made possible by the opening of a fourth runway at Haneda later this year.

Delta Air Lines inherited a fleet of 16 Boeing 747-400s from Northwest Airlines upon its merger with the Minneapolis/St. Paul-based carrier and in its summer 2010 schedule is using them to increase capacity on a number of transpacific and transatlantic routes. Delta also intends to use its 747-400s to operate the routes the DOT awarded it from Detroit and Los Angeles to Tokyo's near-downtown Haneda International Airport

“No U.S. airline has invested more in Tokyo and service into Haneda airport is a logical addition to the three airports Delta already serves across Japan,” says Glen Hauenstein, Delta’s executive vice president – network planning and revenue management. “Customers on both sides of the Pacific will benefit as Delta and SkyTeam strengthen competition at Haneda and continue to expand global connections to Japan, with new service at Haneda complementing our hub at Narita.”

From Detroit, new service to Haneda will boost Delta’s Eastern U.S. gateway to Asia, building on recently added flights to Seoul and Hong Kong, expanded service to Shanghai and long-standing flights to Tokyo-Narita and Nagoya. Delta’s hub at Detroit, featuring a state-of-the-art 121-gate terminal designed for international connections, will provide one-stop service to Haneda for customers in 106 U.S. cities, the airline says.

“Delta demonstrates their confidence in Detroit Metro with the continued expansion of Asian routes, specifically to Tokyo-Haneda, continuing to position the Detroit Metropolitan area as an international gateway,” says Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano. “This addition will be a collective boost for Delta’s Eastern gateway to Asia and for Southeast Michigan.”

From Los Angeles, Delta will serve the largest mainland U.S.-Tokyo market, as well as provide one-stop service for customers in 21 U.S. cities.

“I am very proud that the U.S. DOT chose Los Angeles as the U.S. West Coast gateway for this much sought-after, new route,” says Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “Delta’s new nonstop route between LAX and Tokyo-Haneda will increase competition and enhance customer benefits on flights between the U.S. and Haneda, as well as strengthen business, tourism and cultural ties with one of the most desirable cities in Asia.”

In addition to Haneda, Delta will continue to offer daily transpacific service from Los Angeles to Tokyo Narita, Sydney, Australia and Tahiti (operated by joint venture partner Air France).

Delta will use 403-seat Boeing 747-400s (inherited from Northwest Airlines in the merger of the two airlines) to operate all its flights between the United States and Haneda. Its 747-400s feature 65 seats in the BusinessElite cabin and 338 seats in Economy. Delta’s BusinessElite service includes innovative food offerings from celebrity chef Michelle Bernstein and original wine selections chosen by Delta’s Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson. BusinessElite also features on-demand personal in-seat entertainment boasting more than 20 first-run and popular classic movies, a variety of TV programs, music titles and a suite of video games.

As previously announced, Delta will invest $1 billion, or about $300 million per year, through mid-2013 to improve its customers’ experience in the air and on the ground. The product investment includes installing full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite on approximately 90 aircraft which Delta flies on transoceanic routes and adding in-seat audio and video on demand in Economy Class on widebody aircraft that do not feature this service today. Delta’s 747-400 fleet flying to Haneda will receive both enhancements.

Delta claims to have the largest presence of any U.S. airline in the Japan market. Delta operates nonstop flights from its Asian hub at the Tokyo-Narita Airport to nine U.S. mainland gateways, three beach resorts – Hawaii, Guam and Saipan – and 10 destinations in Asia. The carrier also operates daily flights from Osaka’s Kansai International Airport and Nagoya’s Centrair Airport. Delta recently announced plans to add new service between Nagoya and Honolulu and between Tokyo Narita and the Pacific island of Palau, both operating from December, pending government approvals.