United seeks to institute Guam-Haneda service
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
United Airlines is requesting the U.S. Department of Transportation to allocate a total of 12 U.S.-Haneda frequencies, which, if granted, would allow the U.S. carrier to increase its service for the Guam route.
United is seeking to take over the five weekly frequencies from the night-time-only slot pair currently held but unused by Hawaiian Airlines for Kona/Honolulu-Haneda service, as well as the slot for seven weekly frequencies returned by Delta for its daily Houston-Haneda service.
Carl Gutierrez, president of the Guam Visitors Bureau, said the limited legacy flights between Guam and Japan hinder the recovery of the island’s previously top source market.
“Japan is slow in recovering because there are only two legacy carriers that fly here,” Gutierrez said. “And there’s competition. It’s cheaper to go to Hawaii than Guam. United is our best hope to reinstate that market.”
Currently, United flies between Guam and Nagoya, Osaka, Narita and Fukuoka.
Besides United, Japan Airlines services the Guam route.
“A United Guam-Haneda flight will deliver significant public benefits as it will provide enhanced service to tourism and business travelers in one of the largest Pacific island gateways for U.S. -Japan traffic,” United said in its filing with the transportation department.
"It will provide significant benefit to Guam by giving the island the chance to compete with Hawaii in the Haneda-U.S. market, including for Japanese travelers who are critical to Guam’s economy and who prefer Haneda as an origin or connecting point for their travel needs,” United said.
In its filing with the transportation department, United said allocating the slot seemingly forfeited by Hawaiian Airlines would allow it to institute the first-ever Guam-Haneda service.
“United understands the devastation of the Maui wildfire tragedy that has impacted travel in Hawaii and United has contributed resources to and for those who have been impacted in Maui,” United said.
However, United noted that even prior to the devastating wildfires, Hawaiian Airlines was not fully utilizing its Haneda slot. Based on its pricing and schedule loads, there was no indication that Hawaiian intends to fully utilize the nighttime-only slot pair, United said.
“While United remains deeply sympathetic to the devastation in Maui, United does not believe the circumstances warrant Hawaiian special flexibility or alleviation from the conditions associated with the slot pairs, should Hawaiian attempt to suggest so,” United said.
“Awarding these unused frequencies to United will ensure that these underutilized Haneda slot pairs are finally put to their highest and best use,” United said.
“Should Hawaiian consolidate flying to their two daytime slots, United would request the final two weekly nighttime frequencies,” United said.
If its application is granted, United said it would operate year-round nonstop flights between Houston and Haneda, and five weekly frequencies year-round between Guam and Haneda.