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- 4-11 Higashi-Shinagawa, 2-chome, Shinagawa-ku
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- Tokyo Haneda Airport
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China Eastern Airlines
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Based in Tokyo, Japan Airlines (JAL) is one of Japan's two major flag carriers with hubs at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, Tokyo International Airport, Nagoya’s Chubu Centrair International Airport and Osaka’s Kansai International Airport. Operating a large fleet of Boeing narrow and wide-body aircraft, JAL has an extensive domestic network with regional and international services to Europe, Canada, the United States, South America and Australia. JAL is a member of the oneworld alliance. JAL exited court-administered restructuring in late Mar-2011, after repaying all of the reorganisation debts owed in a one-time payment on 28-Mar-2011.
Location of Japan Airlines main hub (Tokyo Haneda Airport)
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185 total articles
Japan may be the land of the rising sun, but for US airlines the country is fading in importance. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines will have fewer seats from the continental US to Japan in 2014 than in 2013. Japan will also comprise a smaller share of their Asian network. American and Delta in 2003 had Japan as their sole Asian destination from the US, but in 2014 Japan will account for only 43% of American's Asia capacity and 66% of Delta's. United's Japan exposure has decreased from 67% in 2003 to 42% in 2014.
The carriers are adding capacity to Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan, but the main beneficiary of their growth is mainland China. American and United in 2014 will have almost as much capacity to China as to Japan. The change comes as American and United settle into joint-ventures with Japanese partners while Delta looks for a partner of its own. Despite China's increase in capacity significance, the market still has to mature from a premium and outbound standpoint. And no doubt China-US JVs will emerge, and one day overtake the Japan-US JVs.
Finnair celebrates its 90th birthday on 1-Nov-2013, making it one of the world’s oldest airlines. It also has one of the newest CEOs, Pekka Vauramo, who joined on 1-Jun-2013.
Finnair’s strategic niche is based on using its Helsinki hub to connect Europe with Asia. While it saw traffic growth and market share gains in both regions in 3Q2013, the weakness of the yen led to a collapse in Asia revenues. The approval on 16-Oct-2013 of Finnair’s application to join the BA/JAL revenue-sharing joint venture on routes between Europe and Japan could not have come at a more opportune moment. The resulting coordination of pricing and schedules should help to counter revenue weakness.
Nevertheless, the fall in Finnair’s 3Q2013 profits and its consequent profit warning for the full year highlight the scale of the challenge facing Mr Vauramo. Although Finnair achieved a further reduction in unit costs, he will need to push through more cost cuts, while simultaneously seeking to shore up unit revenues.
Whisper it quietly, but Japan's low-cost carriers appear to be cannibalising traffic at All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines. ANA and JAL carried 19% fewer passengers between Osaka and Sapporo in 2012 than 2010 despite the overall market growing 20%. This goes against the story all parties tell that LCCs are only increasing, not cannibalising, volumes. The cannibalisation is confined, so far, but there are signs of concern. ANA and JAL saw reduced traffic in 2012 on overlapping LCC routes despite overall 2012 traffic being the strongest in nearly five years.
ANA and JAL are responding differently to LCCs. The nuances reflect their wider outlook – and fears. JAL is more aggressively cutting capacity on overlapping LCC routes while ANA is sometimes growing. In the medium-term, JAL expects to cut overall domestic capacity in line with the country's shrinking nature while ANA plans growth. JAL's cuts have been rewarded with higher load factors while ANA's growth has seen lower load factors, but all load factors need improvement.
Now that Japan has awarded the allocation of prized daytime international slots at Tokyo Haneda airport, it will soon become evident if airlines will add a service from Haneda or merely transfer an existing Narita service to Haneda. Japanese carriers are more likely to grow, while international carriers are more likely to shift flights to the more convenient geography of Haneda.
ANA emerged strongly from the process, receiving 11 slots to JAL's five. ANA can now have up to 24 daytime Haneda flights to JAL's 18. This uneven distribution repeated the 2012 domestic Haneda slot allocation in which ANA received eight and JAL three. But JAL received almost as many blue-chip destinations as ANA. The difference is in secondary points, which JAL perhaps would have liked - but is not nearly as upset as its rare public outcry suggests. Indeed, JAL's higher operating margin will likely see it achieve a disproportionately higher profit from the slots. Both ANA and JAL could see a boost of around USD100 million.
The focus is on Haneda, prompting some to raise the question of Narita's future. But with ample services left, and a new and growing LCC business, Narita has a place too as Japan fully starts its plan of having dual hubs in Tokyo rather than mainly international flights at Narita and domestic flights at Haneda.
Japan Airlines' selection of the A350 is a welcome win for Airbus in a strongly Boeing-flavoured Japanese aircraft fleet. It is also consistent with JAL's strategy to use smaller widebody aircraft as Japanese demand weakens and global competition works even more against JAL's high cost base – one of the highest in Asia. It was not long ago that JAL operated the world's largest fleet of 747s. JAL's 2010 bankruptcy restructure saw all 747s retired, but the process also introduced a mindset change at JAL that it could no longer be the behemoth it once was. That has been accompanied with practicality of how many passengers JAL can reasonably expect to carry.
The A350 JAL has ordered is a slight downward revision of capacity from JAL's 777-300ER long-haul backbone.
While Asian peers Asiana and Cathay Pacific have also ordered the A350, it will not be the largest type in their fleet whereas JAL's current order sets the A350 to be JAL's largest long-haul aircraft, complementing the medium-sized 787.
Boston Logan Airport’s recent spree of attracting new international service continues as direct flights to Dubai are scheduled to come online in Mar-2014. Emirates Airline is to begin new service that will offer connections throughout its expanding network that covers the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australasia.
The service caps off an interesting round of new and key international destinations from Boston. JAL during 2012 introduced direct flights to Tokyo Narita followed by Copa’s launch of direct flights to Latin America’s key connection point in Panama. Emirates’ new service to Dubai will be followed by the introduction of flights to Istanbul by Turkish Airlines in May-2014.
Emirates’ service to Boston further solidifies its leading-carrier status among the three big Gulf Airlines to the United States. But as has been the case for the last couple of years, its competitors Etihad and Qatar plan to catch up as Etihad has previously stated it plans to table new North American destinations and Qatar has listed Boston as a potential new market in the US.
Given the quickly changing competitive dynamics those three carriers are ushering into the global market place, there is sure to be an interesting response from Emirates’ rivals to these latest moves in North America. Hopefully this will be in the marketplace rather than in the corridors of Congress.
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