A few months ago, I reported that Delta was greatly reducing their flights from Tokyo. The airline had inherited a hub from Northwest that linked up many major Asian cities to Tokyo. Since the merger with NWA, Delta has been slowly reducing their presence in Narita. The airline plans to continue cutting flights, as Delta ends Guam flights.
Current Guam Flights:
Delta currently flies a 757 on this route. There are two daily flights, but come early October, Delta will cancel the first of these two flights. By January 8th 2018, Delta would have pulled all flights from Guam. This leaved Guam with only one US airways, United. United inherited their Guam focus city from their merger with Continental. The airline operates a small connector service from the airport, and flies both an island hopper and 777 to the airport. With Delta gone, United will have even less competition at the airport.
What This Means to Guam:
This bit of news is awful for Guam. The island finds itself in the crosshairs of a North Korean threat. This has greatly affected tourism on the island, which is one of the largest economic activities there. Due to the North Korean threats, HK Express postponed indefinitely their new flights to Guam. With the war of words continuing to heighten, more and more Japanese tourists are shying away from Guam. This will negatively impact not just the Guam economy, but it may also drive more airlines out of the island. With reduced demand for flights, smaller carriers that fly there may be compelled to cancel flights. This goes equally for United.
Although I strongly believe this is just an expected move by Delta, I sympathize with the people of Guam. Delta is continuing to downsize at Tokyo, and the threat of North Korea makes demand much weaker. These two factors make the flight not economically feasible. In any case, Guam is losing a means to connect to Tokyo. However, there are still a few airlines flying from Guam to Tokyo.
Delta’s main argument for their Narita downsize is the impact of Haneda routes to their hub network. Even if this were true, Delta has been actively seeking to get those slots as well. I don’t think that this is the main issue, but more likely that the airline does not have a competitive advantage there. Japan is a hub for Oneworld Japan Airlines and Star Alliance’s ANA & United. Delta is the only major Skyteam carrier there. As Delta strengthens their partnership with Korean Air, their main focus will be shifting weight to Seoul. Regardless, I think Delta is doing a disservice to the people of Guam and Skyteam fliers out of Tokyo.
What do you think? Is Delta doing good by reducing service from Tokyo? Should they completely abandon Guam? Let us know!
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H/T: USA Today
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