Delta fighting to preserve Tokyo hub

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May 16, 2012-Atlanta-The Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal officially opened its doors today as passengers from around the globe got their first look at the new facility. The first departure from the 1.2 million-square-foot facility was Delta Airlines Flight 295 to Tokyo, Japan. Passengers aboard Delta Flight 177 from Dublin, Ireland, were the first to arrive at the international terminal's 12-gate Concourse F. Construction of the terminal began in the summer of 2008 and the $1.4 billion facility has eight security checkpoint lanes for international departing passengers and five recheck lanes for domestic connecting passengers. VINO WONG / VWONG@AJC.COM

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines says it is concerned that U.S.-Japan aviation talks could threaten the viability of its Tokyo hub, a key gateway to Asia.

Delta says the shift could eventually threaten its Atlanta-Tokyo route, a vital connection for Atlanta’s international businesses doing business in Japan and the rest of Asia.

“It would cause Delta’s network in Asia to unravel,” said Delta special counsel Ben Hirst. “Ultimately it will make the flights that we operate to [Tokyo] Narita from Atlanta not viable,” along with Delta routes from other U.S. cities to Tokyo.

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The Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal at Atlanta’s airport. VINO WONG / VWONG@AJC.COM

It’s another major challenge in Delta’s years-long effort to establish a stronger presence in Asia, while its competitors United and American benefit from partnerships with Japan’s two major carriers.

Although Delta is expanding on other parts of the world, it says its Tokyo hub remains an important part of its strategy in Asia.

To read more about why Delta’s presence in Japan is so important for the airline and for business travelers, and to find out how competitors could gain a bigger toe-hold in Tokyo, get the full story on myajc.com.


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