On Jan. 13, Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) announced it would be ending its only Taiwanese route, reports The China Post. The route is scheduled until the end of May.
The current route flies between Seattle, Tokyo Narita Airport and Taiwan Taoyuan Airport in Taipei. The May 24 flight between Tokyo and Taipei will be Delta’s last flight to Taiwan.
Instead, Delta says it will increase the number of flights it offers between the United States and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. The China Post reports that Delta has not said why it is ending its Taiwan flights.
The China newspaper also notes that local travel agencies in Taiwan expect the move to have little impact on Taiwanese travel. The agencies point out that there are dozens of flight options between Narita and Taoyuan, including budget carriers. Passengers can also fly to Taiwan directly from the United States on a variety of airlines. (See also: American Airlines Wins a Futile Victory Over Delta.)
In August 2016, Delta said it was ending three flights to Narita. The decision, reported in the Dallas Star-Tribune, is said to be due to changes in aviation rules. At the time, the airline said it would end its Narita-New York JFK, Narita-Osaka and Narita-Bangkok routes.
According to The Star-Tribune, both United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL) and American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL) have formed partnerships with Japanese airlines flying out of Haneda. Because of these connections, Delta is left at a disadvantage while the other airlines can connect passengers through Haneda to many more Asian destinations. By shifting from Narita to Haneda, Delta hopes to increase the number of destinations it can serve through partnerships.
Pacific traffic at Delta fell 14.4 percent in 2016. During the same period, Pacific traffic at United rose by 2.7 percent and by 28.4 percent at American Airlines. (See also: Delta Posts Fourth-Quarter and 2016 Earnings.)