In addition to beginning previously announced Tokyo-Boston service with Boeing 787s in April, Japan Airlines will also launch non-stop Dreamliner service from Tokyo to San Diego in December and to Helsinki in March 2013.
Japan Airlines also says it is preparing to invest approximately 478 billion yen ($6.13 billion) on upgrading its fleet during the five years to JAL’s 2016 financial year (FY2016), including orders for 20 Boeing 787-9s, which the carrier expects to introduce from its FY2015 on medium-to-long-haul international routes. The orders comprise new orders for 10 Boeing 787-9s and conversion of existing orders for 10 787-8s to the larger, longer-range 787-9.
JAL’s overall Boeing 787s now stands at firm orders for 25 787-8s, and firm orders for 20 787-9s plus options on 20 more, raising its total firm Dreamliner orders from 35 aircraft to 45.
Boeing is currently showing an unidentified customer as having ordered 10 Boeing 787s in 2012 and has not yet reported JAL as having ordered 10 additional Dreamliners, showing the carrier’s total firm 787 buy as 35 aircraft.
JAL’s says its direct Boeing 787 flights to Boston Logan International Airport and San Diego will be the cities’ first links to Asia, providing customers in the region with greater convenience and travel options. At Helsinki, the hub airport of fellow oneworld alliance partner Finnair, customers can expect smoother connections to/from some 50 over destinations in Europe through its compact and efficient terminals, according to JAL.
Within the high-economic-growth region of Southeast Asia, JAL will strengthen its network by increasing the number of flights from Narita to New Delhi and to Singapore and will also deploy the Dreamliner to both cities. Specifically, Japan Airlines says it will operate all its daily services to and from Singapore with the Boeing 787 from the current financial year.
Flights between Tokyo and Bangkok will also be assigned with newer seats using current aircraft. On domestic flights, JAL says it will focus on creating a highly convenient network around Haneda and Itami (Osaka) by using regional jets.
The JAL Group says it has developed the plan “to effectively overcome upcoming challenges in the business environment, prevail over competition, and to continuously exist and develop into the future based upon a firm high-profitability structure”.
During the period covered by the plan, JAL expects further growth in global air travel, as well as expanded business opportunities afforded by the increase in departure and landing slots in the Tokyo metropolitan area at Haneda and Narita airports. The group also acknowledges challenges posed by Japan’s low economic growth rate, heightened competition from low-cost carriers and the downside risks resulting from the European sovereign debt crisis.
JAL says that during the five years of the plan, it plans to focus on “high quality, full services” for international flights and “convenience and simplicity” for domestic flights.
It will allocate resources on operations to Europe, North America and Southeast Asia, where strong demand is expected and where JAL can flex its strength “as a high-quality, service-oriented airline by providing the kind of products and services that customers will always find refreshing and enjoyable, and that will encourage them to fly with JAL again”.