Friday, January 3, 2014

Skymark to add more cities from Sendai and Yonago?

According to the Nikkei, Skymark Airlines (BC/SKY) is planning to adjust its domestic-only network after they place Japan's first Airbus A330-300 into service at the end of March.

The lucrative Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT) - Fukuoka (FUK/RJFF) route will be the first to see the A330, however, as its all-premium (more like premium economy and akin to JAL's Class-J product) 271-seat capacity would still be a 53% increase over the all-economy 177-seat Boeing 737-800s the airline flies today, they plan to reduce the frequency of this route from 11 round-trips to nine, freeing up two slots at heavily-regulated Haneda. Skymark intends to use these slots to open up Haneda - Yonago (YGJ/RJOH) with two daily round-trips.
Skymark will introduce 10 Airbus A330s by the end of 2015. (Image: Airbus)

In the second half of this year, the A330s will be deployed on Haneda - Okinawa/Naha (OKA/ROAH), and for this route the current frequency of five daily will be retained. Skymark intends to add additional routes from its new focus cities of Sendai (SDJ/RJSS) in northeastern Japan and Yonago in western Honshu; from Sendai to Kobe (UKB/RJBE), another Skymark focus city, and from Yonago to Sapporo/New Chitose (CTS/RJCC), Haneda (mentioned above), and Naha. The airline already operates Sendai to New Chitose and Fukuoka (FUK/RJFF), and Yonago to Tokyo/Narita (NRT/RJAA), Kobe, and Ibaraki (IBR/RJAH), via Kobe. Operations at Yonago were only launched on December 20th, 2013, and until their entry, the airport's sole domestic connection was to Haneda with All Nippon Airways (NH/ANA).

Skymark has been stating that the A330s will free-up B737s that would be used to open up new domestic point-to-point markets, where either an ANA or JAL monopoly has kept fares high or the big two's costs are too high to make the market viable. Stay tuned for official announcements.

Source: Nikkei Shimbun (in Japanese)

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