Japan Airlines to decide on 787 aircraft for long haul LCC

Premium Analysis

In summer 2018 Japan Airlines is registering the business for its new low cost, long haul airline to launch in mid-2020. Many key decisions await: besides the name, JAL is finalising aircraft plans.

Perhaps unusually, and in contrast to past long haul LCCs from either a parent company or independent, JAL has committed to using next generation aircraft, whereas past LCCs weighed old or new aircraft.

JAL's debate is whether to give the new airline a 787-8 from JAL's order book or retrofit an existing JAL aircraft to be suitable for a long haul LCC unit. JAL has four 787-8s on order, as well as seven -9s, according to CAPA's Fleet Database.

Some delivery date adjustments may be needed, but Boeing would surely like to provide a factory fresh aircraft for an all-new airline. Some of JAL's original 787s feature not only old products but low-density cabins. JAL may retrofit these aircraft anyway, so JAL could instead give an older – but still next gen – aircraft to the LCC. Compared to a new aircraft, there will be some operating inefficiencies and higher maintenance costs.

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