Delta to resume SLC-to-Tokyo route
Delta Air Lines will resume its nonstop air route between Salt Lake City and Tokyo on Friday -- with a disappointing twist.
Instead of year-round service, Delta will operate the route only through Oct. 23 -- unless demand justifies extending service, spokesman Kent Landers said.
The route was suspended Oct. 1 because of the weak economy, a drop-off in air travel and fears about the H1N1 swine flu virus.
Delta will fly the 5,452-mile route five times a week between its hubs at Salt Lake City International Airport and Narita International Airport outside Japan's capital.
Flights are scheduled to depart in both directions on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, Landers said.
Departure from Salt Lake City is 1:40 p.m. , with arrival at Narita at 4:25 p.m. the next day. Total travel time is 11 hours, 45 minutes.
Return flights leave Narita at 4:15 p.m. and arrive in Salt Lake City at 11:35 a.m. on the same day. Travel time is 10 hours, 20 minutes.
Delta will fly the route with an Airbus 330-200 jet, with 32 business-class seats and 211 seats in economy class.
"As with any route, we are always looking to see if there is an opportunity to extend service to year-round, depending on demand and the overall state of the economy," Landers said.
"But at this point, this is considered a seasonal route from Salt Lake City," he said.
In a related matter, the Transportation Department said it plans to award four new routes to Tokyo -- to Delta, American Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines.
The decision looks to be a big win for Delta, which gets two routes -- from Los Angeles and Detroit -- to Tokyo's Haneda Airport.
Haneda has been primarily a domestic airport near downtown Tokyo. For years, U.S. carriers have been limited to serving Narita, which is far from the city.