Executive Vice President Glen Hauenstein said Delta is disappointed by its rejection, but nevertheless remains "optimistic and confident in the strength of the Pacific." He said the airline merged with Northwest in order to acquire its hub at Tokyo's Narita Airport, and reiterated that unnamed Asian carriers are pursuing relationships with Delta."There's a considerable amount of interest we piqued over six months with respect to Asia that did not exist (before)," Hauenstein said, adding that Delta could add some "direct overflies" or nonstop flights from the U.S. to Asian cities without requiring a connection at Narita. -- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C. .
ATLANTA ( TheStreet) -- Despite two recent setbacks, Delta ( DAL) has no intention to throw in the towel in either case. At a JPMorgan investor conference on Tuesday, Delta executives offered their first public responses to unfavorable decisions last month by both the U.S. Transportation Department and Japan Air Lines. On Feb. 9, Japan Air Lines rejected Delta's bid to replace American as its partner. On Feb. 10, the U.S. Transportation Department restrained Delta's bid to expand at LaGuardia Airport by acquiring more La Guardia slots from US Airways ( LCC) in exchange for slots at Washington National and other assets. In the regulatory case, the DOT said it would not approve the deal unless Delta and US Airways sold some of the slots to other carriers. On Tuesday, Delta President Ed Bastian said, "We are still helpful we can get the deal closed and we are working to that end." Previously, both airlines had said they were studying the issue. Bastian said the DOT imposed restrictions "that neither (we) nor US Airways likes. We're looking at our options. We still have a strong interest in going forward and (we) continue to talk to US Airways ... we're hoping to get that transaction done." In New York, Bastian added, Delta has "been doing a pretty good job of getting everyone's attention." He said the carrier continues to work on plans for a new terminal at Kennedy Airport. "We cannot maintain a revenue premium in this market if we're going to have a substandard facility," he said. Arch-rival American ( AMR) opened a $1.3 billion Kennedy terminal in 2007. "It's as good a terminal as there is anywhere in our country," said CFO Tom Horton, in a recent interview. Horton noted that "the opportunities to grow our presence (in New York) are significant," following the tentative approval of trans-Atlantic immunity for American, British Airways and Iberia. Regarding the Pacific, Bastian said, "We are undeterred. We have a strong franchise there: we continue to be strong." He said other unnamed carriers have expressed interest in joining Skyteam or forming partnerships with Delta. "We're not going to stagnate, we're not going to sit, we're not going to lose any sleep over it," he said.