Saturday, February 1, 2014

JAL Sky Next new domestic product unveiled.

On January 30th, Japan Airlines (JL/JAL) revealed their new domestic in-flight product that will be introduced from May. Dubbed 'JAL Sky Next', as part of their 'New Sky Project' which saw the airline refurbish its international Boeing 777-300ERs and B767-300ERs starting in 2013, JAL will now revamp the interior of 77 domestic aircraft with all-new leather seats, LED lighting, and in-flight Wi-Fi internet connection.
President Yoshiharu Ueki presents JAL's new domestic economy class seats. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

Both economy and Class J, which is JAL's domestic business class product (more akin to premium economy), will receive all-new leather seats. For economy, a slim-style seat will increase legroom by 5 centimeters compared to the current seat, and legroom for Class J would be 18 centimeters bigger than economy, with overall personal space at 97 centimeters. Carpets of the interiors will also be renewed. LED lighting will be changed to new mood-lighting, like those used on the B787, and the colors will be changed depending on the time of the day, season, and the 'natural rhythm of time', according to JAL.

In-flight Wi-Fi will be offered from July onwards, and JAL has etched in a deal with U.S.A.-based Gogo to provide the network. Fees will start from 500 JPY per 30 minutes for smartphones, and for laptop computers, 500 JPY for flights under 450 miles, 700 JPY for routes between 451 and 650 miles, and 1,200 JPY for legs over 650 miles. JAL first introduced Wi-Fi from July 2012 on international routes using Panasonic Avionics' 'eXConnect' product.

The 77 aircraft is comprised of nine B777-300s, seven B777-200s, 20 B767-300/300ERs, and 41 B737-800s. JAL only has seven B777-300s, so either that's an error with the B777-200, or they are getting two more machines for somewhere. Seven or nine B777-200s mean the remainder will not be renewed, probably those due to be replaced by the B787-9. Meanwhile, JAL's domestic First Class, which until now has only been seen on their 15 B777-200s, will also be introduced on their domestic B767-300ERs. Nine are to receive the new treatment, but there are only five of the variant currently flying domestic, meaning four will be converted from international.

Rival All Nippon Airways (NH/ANA) just announced a few weeks ago that they would be postponing the introduction of their in-flight Wi-Fi internet product indefinitely due to 'unsatisfactory connectivity' results from experimenting. What will ANA do?

Source: Japan Airlines (in Japanese)

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