* Flights to Hong Kong, Shanghai to start next year
* Carrier to end JFK to Tokyo Haneda service
Oct 16 (Reuters) - American Airlines said on Wednesday itplans to add nonstop flights to Hong Kong and Shanghai fromDallas/Fort Worth International Airport next year to expand itsglobal reach.
AMR Corp's American, which hopes to exitbankruptcy protection by merging with US Airways Group and forming the world's biggest carrier, said it would operateBoeing 777 planes on the flights to the Chinese cities.The service is expected to begin next summer, pending regulatoryclearance.
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit in August challengingAmerican's proposed merger with US Airways, saying it would leadto higher ticket prices and hurt competition. A federal trial inthe case is set to begin on Nov. 25.
Dallas/Fort Worth is the biggest of American's five majorU.S. hubs. Hong Kong is a new destination for the carrier.American currently flies to Shanghai from its Chicago and LosAngeles hubs.
The carrier, which filed for Chapter 11 protection in late2011, announced other plans for its network, including thetermination of service between New York's John F. KennedyInternational Airport and Tokyo Haneda, with the last eastboundflight on Dec. 1.
"Our Tokyo/Haneda flight has been quite unprofitable,largely because we are allowed to operate only during severelyrestricted hours, limiting our customers' options for connectingflights to and from other Asian markets," American ChiefCommercial Officer Virasb Vahidi said in a message to employeeson Wednesday.
He added that the move to cancel the service to Haneda,which American began in early 2011, came after failed efforts topersuade the United States and Japan to reach an agreementeasing schedule constraints at Haneda, which handles mostlydomestic traffic. American operates nine daily flights betweenthe United States and Tokyo Narita International airport, whichreceives most international traffic.
Japan Airlines, a member of the oneworld globalalliance that includes American and British Airways,earlier this month was awarded fewer new landing slots than arival received as Haneda opens a new runway. JAL was awardedfive of 16 slots up for grabs, with the rest going to ANAHoldings. JAL has asked the Japanese government toreconsider that allocation.
American also said it would operate three daily flights fromNew York's Kennedy airport to London Heathrow instead of fournext year as it upgrades older 777 planes with seats that fullyrecline. Joint venture partner British Airways will operate theflight that American is temporarily dropping to make the seatupgrades, Vahidi's note said.
American added the seat changes were needed to be able tobetter compete with a new partnership between Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic that will operate flightsbetween the United States and Britain.
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- American Airlines
- Tokyo Haneda