UK-Japan air service: BA's new Osaka route as oneworld steps up

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British Airways is to launch London Heathrow to Osaka Kansai International Airport on 31-Mar-2019. This will take the total number of weekly services by all operators connecting the UK and Japan from 35 to 39.

The number of UK-Japan services contributed by BA and JAL to the oneworld joint venture between Europe and Japan will increase from 28 to 32. This reinforces the dominance of the oneworld JV on UK-Japan routes (the remaining seven services are operated by Star's ANA).

In addition, Finnair and JAL will contribute 38 weekly Finland-Japan frequencies to the oneworld JV, when Finnair increases its Helsinki-Osaka frequency from daily to 10 times weekly. The oneworld JV partners (which also include Iberia) will operate a total of 93 weekly flights between Europe and Japan, compared with 90 for the JV within the Star Alliance (Lufthansa Group and ANA).

BA's cautious approach to Japan had arguably left UK passengers underserved with direct routes, handing the initiative to other European airlines (most notably Lufthansa).

BA expects that the route, serving Japan's second largest city, will provide an attractive combination of business and leisure traffic. Starting with a four times weekly Boeing 787-800 service, BA is leaving itself scope to increase both frequency and gauge in the future.

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