- CAPA Analysis
- Schedule Analysis
- Cargo Analysis
- Market Share
- Low Cost Carriers
- Economics & Trade
- Fast Fact Report
- IATA Code
- International Airlines serving this country (excluding codeshares)
As an archipelago, flying is an efficient way to travel from the main islands to the many small islands around Japan. Hence Tokyo-Sapporo is one of the world's busiest routes. Aviation within Japan is comprised of two large groups, the JAL Group and ANA Group, each operating an extensive network. There is a range of smaller airlines which mainly compete on the busiest business routes, however more recent entrants such as fast growing Skymark Airlines (LCC) offer extensive networks. The JAL Group consists of JAL Domestic and JAL International, several smaller airlines such as Japan Transocean Air and Ryukyu Air Commuter. The ANA Group consists of All Nippon Airways and Air Nippon.
In 2012, no less than three new low cost airlines have been established as subsidiaries of JAL and ANA: JAL's Jetstar Japan, jointly with Australia's Jetstar; ANA's Peach (minority held with Hong Kong interests involved) and AirAsia Japan, jointly wtih AirAsia. These will reshape the country's domestic and short haul international markets, operating with unit costs around half of those of their part parents.
The main international airport is Tokyo Narita (New Tokyo International Airport) while Tokyo Haneda Airport is the capital's Tokyo’s original international airport that now mainly services domestic (but after opening a fourth runway in late Oct-2010 dramatically increased international slots). Osaka’s Kansai International Airport and Nagoya’s, Central Japan International Airport Centrair or Chubu Airport are also very busy international airports.
Japan has concluded bilateral agreements on international air services with over 50 countries and regions.
Airports in Japan
662 total articles
Northeast Asia dominated the developments of East Asian airport growth in 2016. Beijing Capital, Asia's largest and the world's second biggest, further narrowed the gap with first place Atlanta. Yet with some Beijing Capital traffic due to start moving to the second airport Beijing Daxing in mid 2019, Beijing Capital may not overtake Atlanta in the near future.
Asia's second largest airport, Tokyo Haneda, is undergoing steady growth ahead of a slot increase to support more international visitors for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Asia's third largest airport, Hong Kong, could soon be overtaken by Shanghai Pudong, which has had a dramatic growth story, especially in the last two years. Seoul Incheon has also grown rapidly and benefits from infrastructure developments.
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi posted record traffic, despite some traffic having moved to Don Mueang a few years ago. That initiative to make room for more growth gave only a few years of breathing room.
Asia's largest airports continue to be defined by pent up demand waiting for a combination of more runways, slots, terminals and air space.
For the first time in Northeast Asian aviation, low cost airlines are poised to overtake full service airlines in a significant way. The market concerned is that between Japan and Korea, where LCCs are rapidly growing, while full service airlines are decreasing capacity. Overall market size and visitor figures are at record highs. This refutes any legacy airline thinking that LCCs "steal" market share; LCCs are growing the market and becoming the future – as they already are in other parts in the world.
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.
In 2016 Finnair accelerated its rate of capacity growth after a modest return to expansion in 2015, following cuts in 2014. It also experienced a fall in unit revenue (as did most European airlines), most notably in the regions of highest capacity growth, i.e. the long haul markets North America and Asia.
Asia is Finnair's most important long haul market (Japan and China are its two biggest markets by ASKs) and its ranking by seats on routes between European and NE/SE Asia is disproportionate. It has ambitious growth plans in the region and will increase frequencies to Tokyo and Hong Kong this summer. Its long haul network, which will also extend to San Francisco this summer and Goa next winter, is largely founded on connecting traffic via its Helsinki hub.
Finnair's return to capacity growth has coincided with a return to profit, but lower fuel prices were the main driver of its bottom line improvement. Its profit margins remain slim and, beyond the vagaries of fuel price benefits, Finnair aims for more sustainable unit cost cuts. Fleet strategy and labour productivity form a two pronged attack on its cost base.
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.
Qantas has been transforming in Asia. Its partnership with Emirates and shift of European stopover hub from Asia to Dubai drove a need for Qantas to restructure its Asia network to support the local market, and not onward connections to Europe. Widebody capacity has become available as Qantas further decreases widebody services in the domestic market, which was overcompetitive and impacted by a decline in the resource sector, which was a key corporate contract focus.
In calendar 1Q2017 Qantas will operate more flights to Asia than at any time this decade, including prior to its Emirates-necessitated restructure.
Seat capacity has reduced slightly, reflecting the use of smaller aircraft (A330s instead of A380s) but Qantas still has more seats for the local market since it no longer sells onward flights to Europe. Qantas' most recent Asian additions are the relaunching of Melbourne-Tokyo (taking the service over from Jetstar, which will instead open new flights to Vietnam) and Sydney-Beijing – an important market for its JV with China Eastern as Virgin Australia signals its intent to fly to Beijing in 2017, in partnership with HNA.
Hawaiian Airlines is maintaining a positive outlook for 2017, despite cost pressure and delays in delivery of the first Airbus A321neo aircraft to join the company’s fleet. The airline is a huge proponent of the new generation narrowbody, touting the jet as the only aircraft that serves its mission of serving secondary North American markets at the right cost point. Because of the delays Hawaiian faces the undesirable situation of incurring the costs of adding the A321s to its fleet without enjoying any revenue benefit from their operation.
The delays may intensify the cost pressure Hawaiian already faces in 2017, and its current guidance does not include any effects from a potential collective bargaining agreement it could reach with its pilots. Hawaiian is not alone in facing cost pressure in 2017; nearly every US airline is bracing for non fuel unit cost challenges alongside rising oil prices.
But the unit revenue momentum Hawaiian enjoyed throughout most of 2016 is continuing into early 2017 as industry capacity to Hawaii remains rational, and its own growth is largely driven by new long haul routes introduced in late 2016. But it will be tough for Hawaiian, and the industry in general, to sustain a revenue performance that offsets the cost pressure that most US airlines, Hawaiian included, face in 2017.