Delta Airlines to Cease Narita Operations; Manila Flights Affected

Delta Airlines will be abandoning its long-time Tokyo-Narita hub in late March 2020 as it moves its entire Tokyo-based operations to Haneda airport, which opened up to international flights in 2010.  Once Delta expands its footprint in Haneda, it will fly between that point and Honolulu, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Detroit, and Atlanta.  This follows a trend by other carriers, including All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines, to locate a majority of their US flights in Haneda.  Given Haneda's proximity to Tokyo's city centre relative to Narita, as well as extensive domestic flight network, Haneda is becoming a more preferred choice of airport for passengers travelling to Tokyo and connecting further within Japan.  

Image source: Alfred van Beem/Wikimedia

Delta inherited its right to use Narita as a hub from Northwest Airlines after the former's acquisition of the latter.  Northwest has been one of the pioneers of the hub-and-spoke model via Narita, whereby a carrier operates flights from the US to a certain hub (i.e. Narita) and passengers who wish to continue their journey to Asia would transfer to one of the carrier's other flights at that hub and vice versa.  This allowed Delta to gain a foothold in Asian cities like Manila without the need to mount nonstop flights to/from the US.  In recent years though, Delta has gradually drifted away from the hub-and-spoke model by introducing nonstop flights between selected US cities and some of its East Asian mainstays with varying degrees of success.  For instance, Delta had operated a nonstop flight between Seattle and Hong Kong for almost four years before terminating such a service altogether in 2018.  Today, Manila is the only East Asian city outside China, Japan, or South Korea that Delta operates flights to.
Part of Delta's new arrangement in Haneda does not include slots within Asia, however.  With that development, Delta will effectively retire the hub and spoke model come Spring 2020.  Despite this, Delta will continue to have a direct footprint in Manila as it will redirect flights involving the Philippine capital via Seoul-Incheon using its new Airbus A330neo aircraft.  Insiders have suggested that this is a move aimed also at leveraging Delta's existing partnership with Korean Airlines.  Both Delta and Korean are members of the Skyteam airline alliance.  Delta flies to Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis-St Paul, and Seattle via Seoul, whilst Korean flies to Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Ft Worth, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco Seattle, and Washington Dulles.  This means that passengers from Manila will have at least a dozen different routes in the mainland US to choose from when choosing to fly with the Skyteam.


  1. "Today, Manila is the only East Asian city outside China, Japan, or South Korea that Delta operates flights to."

    Manila's never a part of East Asia.

    1. So where is Manila? North, South, West Asia? Don't tell me its South East Asia, because that is still East.

    2. Anyway Manila, the Pearl of East...

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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