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United likely to open Guam-Haneda route this year

Updated: Feb 18



By Pacific Island Times News Staff


The U.S. Department of Transportation has greenlighted United Airlines’ renewed bid to institute the Guam-Haneda route using the slot surrendered by Hawaiian Airlines.

The federal agency has granted United one daily nighttime slot, boosting the visitor industry’s efforts to resuscitate the stagnant Japanese market.


The flight slot, currently held but remained unused by the troubled Hawaiian, will be allotted to United when it officially becomes available on April 2, according to the department’s notice of action dated Feb. 16.


The federal transportation agency last year denied United’s application filed in September 2023 based on Hawaiian’s promise "to resume full daily utilization of the slot pair before the end of the 2023-24 winter season.”

 

United revived its application for the slot on Jan. 26 following Hawaiian’s filing of a notice informing the department that it would return the commercial rights to serve Haneda from Honolulu effective April 2. 

 

United sought the soon-to-open slot pair to institute Guam-Haneda service, effective May 1. Its petition was uncontested.


“Consistent with our standard practice, we will require that United inaugurate service with the slot pair allocated here within 90 days of its proposed startup

 date, May 1, 2024," the notice reads. "Failure to inaugurate service with a newly

 allocated slot pair by that time will result in the unused slot pair reverting to the department."


Before giving up its slot on Jan. 26, Hawaiian previously proposed to increase frequencies and return to daily service by March 2024.


However, Hawaiian canceled the plan, citing "unfavorable market conditions.”


Hawaiian is awaiting acquisition by Alaska Airlines. Its shareholders this week voted to approve the proposed merger.

 


In a new motion filed Feb. 16, United said a prompt award of the slot "will ensure that that this valuable asset will immediately be put to its highest and best use" and "the traveling public can benefit from United’s Guam-Haneda service as soon as feasible."


Currently, United flies between Guam and Nagoya, Osaka, Narita and Fukuoka.

Besides United, Japan Airlines serves the Guam-Japan route.


Meanwhile, the Guam Visitors Bureau continued its campaign to revive the Japanese market.

 

On Feb. 6, GVB officials paid a courtesy visit to Nagano Mayor Kenji Ogiwara. 


"The visit came after a recent meeting with the U.S. Embassy in Japan where talks of rebuilding ties between Guam and Japan were discussed and plans to revitalize sister-city relationships were prioritized," GVB said in a press release.


Carl Gutierrez, GVB president and head of the delegation, discussed the agency's efforts to build Friendship City relationships and revive the Japanese travelers' interest in Guam.


 “Guam has built relationships with multiple cities in Japan, including Kashiwa, Karatsu, Niigata and Okayama," Gutierrez said. "Inviting such a world-renowned location as Nagano to become a sister city with us would open up many doors for our people as well as our tourism industry."


Gutierrez disclosed GVB's plan to reinstate school trips, cultural exchanges and homestay programs. 

Men shaking hands
GVB President Carl T.C. Gutierrez greets Kaiju Kelaguen artists from Guam, Joshua Barrigada and Geremy Grey.  Photo courtesy of GVB


The GVB delegation also attended the Kaiju Kelaguen event on Feb. 6-12 at the Tokyu Plaza in Shibuya, where Guam showcased works by the island's artists, including  Joshua Barrigada and Geremy Grey, as well as brands and products in Japan. 


Kaiju Kelaguen, the brainchild of a Japanese manga artist named Tsunogai,

was created as a joint venture with island artists and creators to showcase and promote Guam’s pop culture. 

While in Tokyo, the Guam delegation was also able to meet with the Japan Airlines sales team and GVB Japan team to secure upcoming programs. 


GVB’s trade team in Japan conducted a seminar in Sendai with United for more than 50 travel agents, further extending GVB’s reach within the Japanese market.

  





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