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United Continental looks to poach Delta's Tokyo Handea slots

United Continental Holdings has requested US regulatory approval to operate to Tokyo Haneda Airport if Delta Air Lines abandons the airport following the 11-Mar-2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The carrier stated it could add a daily service from Guam, Newark or San Francisco "in the event that Delta (or any other Haneda-authorised US carrier) decides to abandon service". Delta Air Lines plans to resume service to Haneda from Detroit and Los Angeles in Jun-2011, having temporarily suspended operations on 24-Mar-2011. Delta criticised United Continental's move as unwarranted.

Shares in United Continental fell 4.4% in trading on Tuesday, while Delta's shares were 1.3% lower, on a weak day for North American airline stocks. Air Canada B shares were down 4.1% and Hawaiian Airlines finished 3.9% lower.

Selected Americas airlines share price movements (% change): 05-Apr-2011