Saturday, March 29, 2014

Japan Transocean Air decides on Boeing 737-800s.

On March 27th, Japan Transocean Air (NU/JTA) announced that they have chosen the Boeing 737-800 to succeed its B737-400s. Deliveries will start in January 2016, and a dozen will be acquired to replace the current airframes on a one-to-one basis. JTA currently operates 13 B737-400s, of which one will be phased out this May.
A rendering of JTA's Boeing 737-800s. Will the 'Jimbei couple' be continued with the new jets? (Image: Boeing)

The new B737-800s will have the latest PIPs (Performance Improvement Packages) incorporated and will also be fitted with Boeing's Sky Interior with Dreamliner-style cabin lighting. JTA is planning to seat 165, comprising 20 Class J (domestic business class) and 145 economy seats, standardizing with 70%-owner Japan Airlines' (JL/JAL) B737-800s. JTA's current B737-400s seat either 145 (20 Class J and 125 economy) or 150 (all economy). The Okinawa/Naha (OKA/ROAH)-based airline has the option to convert to the upcoming B737 MAX from their seventh aircraft onwards.

JTA's fleet renewal comes at a transitional period, when Boeing's best-selling narrowbody jetliner will start to move on to its fourth generation. They probably wanted the newest version, but with their B737-400s showing its age with the oldest being 19 years old, they couldn't wait. Deliveries of the MAX are to begin in 2017, but early delivery slots are probably already full. And they do have the option to convert half of the order to the MAX, but personally speaking, they probably won't exercise it to keep commonality, unless they acquire more and Boeing offers JTA to take back the B737-800s.

Source: Japan Transocean Air, March 27th. (PDF; in Japanese)

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