Friday, January 31, 2014

Skymark releases Summer 2014, expects FY2013 loss.

On January 29th, Skymark Airlines (BC/SKY) released the first part of their Summer 2014 schedule effective from March 30th through April 30th. Including previously announced plans, the airline is expanding ambitiously at its focus cities of Ibaraki (IBR/RJAH), Sendai (SDJ/RJSS), and Yonago (YGJ/RJOH), but suspending all services to Asahikawa (AKJ/RJEC) and Kumamoto (KMJ/RJFT). They are also cutting Ishigaki's (ISG/ROIG) non-stop links to Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT), Tokyo/Narita (NRT/RJAA), and Kobe (UKB/RJBE), and will instead re-route passengers through Okinawa/Naha (OKA/ROAH). Through-fares to Ishigaki will be offered from Haneda.
Skymark's Boeing 737-800s await their next flights at Haneda. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

New Routes:
Ibaraki - Fukuoka (FUK/RJFF) new 2 daily with 73H/738. *From April 18.
Ibaraki - Nagoya/Chubu Centrair (NGO/RJGG) new 1 daily with 73H/738. *From April 18.
Kobe - Sendai new 2 daily with 73H/738. *From April 1.
Yonago - Naha new 1 daily with 73H/738. *From April 1.
Yonago - Sapporo/New Chitose (CTS/RJCC) new 1 daily with 73H/738. *From April 1.
Yonago - Haneda new 2 daily with 73H/738. *From April 1.

See also:
Skymark announces expansion at Ibaraki.
Skymark announces Yonago and Sendai expansion.

Frequency Increases:
Haneda - Kobe from 5 to 6 daily. *From April 1.
Haneda - Naha from 5 to 6 daily. *From April 1.
Haneda - New Chitose from 7 to 8 daily. *From April 1.

Frequency Reductions:
Haneda - Fukuoka from 11 to 10 daily. *From April 1.

Kobe - Ishigaki.
Haneda - Asahikawa. *From April 1.
Haneda - Ishigaki. *Through-fare via Naha will be offered.
Haneda - Kumamoto. *From April 1.
Narita - Asahikawa. *From April 1.
Narita - Ishigaki.

Skymark is taking delivery of its first of 10 all-premium Airbus A330s in February, and will place it in service on the Haneda - Fukuoka route from April. A total of five will be delivered this year, with the remainder arriving in 2015. Meanwhile, two older Boeing 737-800s will be returned to their lessors in April and October, respectively, reducing the B737 fleet to 29. Their first Airbus A380 will arrive around August/September, to launch business/premium economy-only flights to New York/John F. Kennedy (JFK/KJFK) from December.
Skymark's first Airbus A380 is now under construction at Toulouse. (Photo: Airbus)

Skymark also announced that they are expecting a 1 billion JPY loss for fiscal year 2013, ending in March 2014, down from a 2 billion JPY profit forecast. Increased competition from LCCs as well as a stronger All Nippon Airways (NH/ANA) and Japan Airlines (JL/JAL) brought total revenue down 5.2% compared to FY2012 to 86.4 billion JPY, while the rapid devaluation of the JPY resulting from 'Abenomics' increased fuel costs. Expenses to prepare for the two new Airbus wide-body jetliners have also been higher than estimated, and the airline has delayed launching its frequent-flyer program, though it will likely be launched before they go international with the A380s.

Skymark is slowly transforming themselves from a LCC, though they have never classified themselves as such, to more of a hybrid airline. Most of the new domestic routes have no direct competitors, and the A330 and A380 products are something not offered by the majors nor by the LCCs. Finding itself caught in between the heavyweights and the new LCCs, 2014-2015 will see if the airline can carve out its own niche for survival.

Source: Skymark Airlines (PDF; in Japanese)
Source: Nikkei Shimbun (in Japanese)

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