Japan Airlines (JAL) announced it is accelerating up to USD240 million in cost-reduction efforts, as part of new restructuring efforts (Yomiuri Shimbun, 25-Jul-2010). JAL aims to reduce costs by approximately USD5 billion over the next five years, cutting 16,000 positions and shedding a large number of subsidiaries. Profitability is projected for FY2014, with a target of USD1.5 billion. The carrier is seeking approval from creditors and courts for its restructuring plans, under Japanese Corporate Rehabilitation Law (Mainichi Japan, 24-Jul-2010).
Japan Airlines to slash USD5bn in costs; shed 16,000 workers
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LCCs accounted for 1% of available seats between Japan and Korea in 2009, reached 37% in 2016, and so far in 2017 will account for 49% of the market. Limited airport data indicates that LCCs, operating at higher load factors, already transport more passengers than full service airlines, and by the end of 2017 LCCs should easily account for the majority of capacity.
LCCs already fly more airport pairs than their full service counterparts. The LCC development between Japan and Korea illustrates underlying LCC opportunity in Northeast Asia but also reflects on the importance of liberalisation, and for full service airlines to have efficient cost bases.
Japan Airlines' US changes mark start of new growth after government restrictions end
Japan Airlines is eagerly – but discreetly – counting down to 01-Apr-2017. The start of the new fiscal year in Japan is when JAL will be unshackled from growth restrictions imposed after JAL's bailout in 2010. United States Chapter 11 restructuring enables relatively quick growth on lower costs, but in Japan JAL's significant cost improvements over All Nippon Airways came with the penalty of not being permitted to fully realise business opportunities for a number of years.
JAL's first public business change is the relatively small, and expected, move of a New York flight from a Narita departure to Haneda, matching ANA. Bigger changes are expected with JAL's new management plan due in 1H2017.
ANA has significantly widened the gap with JAL, using JAL's restrictions as a once-in-a-lifetime unchallenged growth opportunity. JAL is expected to grow its network around its core North America-Asia segment. JAL will look to expand North America flights, but also East Asia and India.
Yet JAL, still scarred by bankruptcy and determined to be the first Asian airline to have consistently high and cyclical-proof margins, will seek modest, direct network growth. JAL will look to invest in other airlines and non-flying businesses.