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Major U.S. passenger carrier Delta Airline Inc. (DAL - Analyst Report) is fighting with its Japanese and American rivals to get additional landing slots at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. The move is an effort by Delta to increase its presence in Tokyo’s downtown region. Haneda – the second busiest airport in Asia -- is set to gain 40 new daytime landing slots for flights, as of Mar 2014.

Notably, Haneda airport resumed international operations in 2010 after it opened a new international terminal. Back then Delta, which is the sole U.S. airlines without a Japanese partner, won 2 night slots, while American Holdings and Hawaiian Holdings Inc. (HA - Snapshot Report) won 1 slot each. Delta now wants a larger pie of the 40 slots that are up for grabs.

Dallas-based Delta wants 25 slot pairs that they were force to shift to Narita airport in 1978. Narita airport, located 40 miles east of Tokyo, has less attractiveness to business travellers as compared to Haneda, which is located in the heart of the city.

In an attempt to tap these corporate customers, both U.S. and Japanese carriers are lining up to get accesses to more landing slots in Haneda. Delta’s rival, United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL - Analyst Report), is trying to get a slot of its own while its Japanese partner ANA Holdings is looking to get a major portion of the 20 slots reserved for the local carriers.

Tokyo’s extended business relationship with various parts of the world makes it an important destination for major carriers, and Delta is no exception. Moreover, the flight for New York departs from Haneda at 6:55 A.M., which is less attractive for business travellers. Thus Delta wants to increase its presence within the city and is particularly targeting the day time slots, which are more meaningful for business passengers.

Delta holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Another stock worth mentioning within this sector is Republic Airways Holdings Inc. (RJET - Snapshot Report), which carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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