The Transportation Department says Delta Air Lines, American and Hawaiian will get four new routes to Haneda airport in Tokyo.
The airport has been off-limits to U.S. airlines since 1978. Currently, U.S. airlines fly to Narita airport, which is farther from the center of Tokyo and less attractive for business travelers.
The decision gives Hawaiian Airlines one route from Honolulu. Delta gets two routes - one from Los Angeles, the other from Detroit. American Airlines can add service from JFK Airport in New York.
The Transportation Department rejected applications from United Airlines, Continental Airlines, and Continental's Micronesia unit.
"These new flights will provide travelers with more convenient access to Tokyo," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.
The airlines can start service once the airport's fourth runway becomes operational later this year and must do so by Jan. 29, 2011.
Information from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer was used in this report.