Delta Airlines is one of the largest airlines in the world. They have hubs not just in the US, but in Europe and Asia as well. Their main Asian gateway has been for a very long time Tokyo-Narita. Recently, though, Delta has reevaluated their strategy in Tokyo. This has led Delta reducing their number of flights from the airport. With the opening of slots at Tokyo-Haneda, and Delta vying against American for them, they have been more focused on that airport than Narita.

Delta Asia-Pacific Destinations (

Delta Asia-Pacific Destinations (

Delta Shrinks Tokyo

Delta has been shrinking in Tokyo since last year. They have since stopped flying to Osaka and Bangkok from Narita. They also stopped flying from New York and from Los Angeles. The surprising action is that they are not offsetting their changes with added service, or partnerships. Skyteam is the only alliance without a major partner in Japan. With these cutbacks, it pushes Delta to depend on their partners for flights to smaller destinations in Japan. China Eastern and China Southern are both members of Skyteam. They can connect passengers from their hubs to destinations in Asia. As for Japanese destinations, Delta can depend on Korean Air.

The airline has since announced further cuts to their Narita hub. They will stop flying to Taipei in May. The airline has no plans to continue cutting service, for now. I foresee further cuts, given their changing strategy. With part ownership of China Eastern, they have a good access to Asian markets.

Delta 777

Delta 777

Tokyo Narita as a Hub

Delta inherited their Tokyo-Narita hub operations from Northwest. When the airlines merged, they began to strengthen their flights there. They compete with United which also has a hub there. However, Delta’s presence is much more robust, even today, when comparing it to United. The advantage United has is their partnership with ANA, which has a major hub there. With the opening of Haneda slots, Delta has reduced and restructured their flights at Narita. Nonetheless, they still have a major footprint in the airport, and it is difficult to see them abandoning the airport completely.


Landing Thoughts

Delta Airlines’ cuts at Tokyo-Narita come as no surprise, given the airline threatened to do so if slots at Haneda were released. Now they have been true to their word, and scaled back some routes. They will likely stay at the airport for a long foreseeable future. Narita is their primary Asian gateway, although Seattle is now becoming a big player as well. The airline recently opened their new SkyClub there, and it truly is industry leading.


What do you think? Should Delta shrink its Narita hub? Have you ever flown on Delta through Narita? Let us know!


All photos from Wikimedia Commons unless otherwise noted.