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British Airways' recently announced new route from London
Heathrow to Tokyo Haneda will give passengers faster access to the center of
the Japanese capital and better flight connections to the rest of the country,
a senior executive for the airline said on Friday.
BA announced on Tuesday that it will fly five times weekly
to Haneda beginning Feb. 19, 2011. It will become the first European carrier to
fly to the airport, although Japan Airlines will launch a Haneda-Paris service
on Oct. 31, with Air France selling seats through a codeshare.
Until now, Haneda has been used overwhelmingly for domestic
flights, but the Japanese government is opening it up to long-haul services for
the first time from Oct. 21 with the opening of a new runway and an
international terminal. Haneda is much closer to the center of Tokyo than Narita
International Airport, where all long-haul flights have operated until now.
Haneda is 20 minutes from the city center by monorail or car, whereas Narita is
one hour from downtown by rail and frequently double that by road.
"It is a more convenient route into Tokyo and also
provides more connecting services for us with our Oneworld partner JAL,"
said Richard Tams, head of U.K. and Ireland sales and marketing for BA. "The
choice of connections at Haneda is much greater, especially for the Japanese
domestic network." BA will continue to fly to Narita, Tams said, because
it remains a preferable point of access for some visitors to the Tokyo area and
has better international connections.
JAL has said it will launch 11 international routes from
Haneda, including San Francisco, while principal rival All Nippon Airways is
starting service to Singapore, Bangkok and Los Angeles. Other carriers that
will fly into Haneda for the first time include American Airlines—from New
York, starting Jan. 11—and Air Canada, from Vancouver.
BA also announced on Tuesday that it would resume nonstop
flights to Buenos Aires beginning March 27, 2011. Since 2003, the service has
called first at Sao Paulo. Both cities will be served daily. "We are
resuming nonstop flights to Buenos Aires in response to requests from a number
of clients," said Tams.