I'm of the agreement Delta probably gets 5, AA/UA get three, and HAL gets the final slot. I'm very surprised they are giving out twelve. Reward for opening up the previously restricted airspace around Yokota Air Base? So much for Delta eventually wanting to move MSP-HND to SEA. I'm going to go out on a limb and say this will be the end of NRT flying for Delta. ATL/SEA/DTW should be in line to receive HND flights. As for the two other potential flights to HND? Delta is probably going to give a shot at returning to NYC-TYO flying and apply for JFK-HND. Stated reason for exiting JFK-NRT was they could not complete on yields with ANA/JAL on their new JFK-HND flights. What about the last slot they will more likely than not receive? PDX-HND? HNL-HND? Its probably going to be one of those. I'd wager a slight lean on PDX-HND as Delta is fully committed, despite the NRT drawdown, on flying the biggest International O&D route ex-PDX. Keep in mind Korean also flies HNL-NRT. Delta is dropping HNL-FUK in May. I still believe its only a matter of time before HNL-Japan goes away entirely, especially as Delta begins to really draw down the 767 fleet in the coming years. Due to ANA's impending A380s, its just a matter of time before someone is squeezed out of the HNL-TYO market. (Yes, I am well aware of the size of HNL-TYO but those yields are going nowhere but south with A380s.) As for what happens to Delta's final two interport routes, NRT-SIN/MNL, also, with the draw down of the 767 fleet, they'll be taken up by Korean at ICN. As per what Delta will fly on these plethora of routes? Assuming my prediction is correct, 777/A350s for DTW/ATL/JFK, A330-900neos for SEA/PDX-HND.
I am actually interested more by what AA will apply for than UA. Theoretically, AA could also exit NRT with their own metal if they receive three slots. If they were to be awarded two DFW-HND flights, they could upgauge them from 772s to 77Ws, and receive another LAX-HND slot and also use the 77W instead of the 789. (DFW-GRU, MIA-EZE lose the 77W for good in the process and DFW-LHR year round is one, possibly two 77Ws.) Yeah I get it, a lot of premium seats but I don't see how AA applies for ORD-HND and receives it and is able to fly it profitably. ORD-NRT is on death's door step and if AA is not awarded a ORD-HND flight, AA is off ORD-TYO for good. Of course all of this is predicated on AA not adding any HND flying from LUS hubs PHX/PHL/CLT or retrying JFK-HND. With AA's rightsizing JFK, its hard to see how they would want to return at this point. Complicating the application is JAL already flies JFK-HND. CLT/PHL/PHX all sound interesting and all three would probably work with either 788 or 789s, however, I don't see how AA does this now as with more and more Dreamliners, its only now with the final retirement of the 767s will they Dreamliner make its way to PHL.
While UA has gotten the rotten end of the HND slot allocations in the past, they'll have good choices to make. IAH-HND is definitely one. I still don't think ORD-HND is a winner as ANA already flies it. My guess is they'll receive EWR-HND and most likely IAD-HND. IAD-HND should be a slam dunk. EWR does not have a HND flight so its pretty easy to see how it'll be awarded. Equipment? EWR-HND is a 77W, IAD/IAH-HND are both GE powered 772s.
And we come to HAL. HAL has been the biggest beneficiary of HND flying. They fly HNL-HND eleven times a week and KOA-HND thrice weekly. Four of the HNL-HND weekly slots are the nighttime slots and all three of the KOA-HND slots. Due to geography, the nighttime slots don't effect HAL one bit unlike DL/AA previously. My guess is HAL will figure out a way to make HNL-HND double daily and go daily on KOA-HND. Its possible HAL will end up cancelling HNL-NRT as a result as the only reason why they are flying it is the lack of HND slots.
Anyway, I'd like to hear what others think. I'm a huge Delta fan, but please threads like these get monopolised on DL. More discussion about AA as they could have the most interesting application if they were to include LUS hubs?