Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Jetstar Japan's first company-trained Captain is flying.

Jetstar Japan's (GK/JJP) first company-trained Airbus A320 Captain commenced flying on March 3rd. The Tokyo/Narita (NRT/RJAA)-based LCC started training three pilots in October 2013 at CAE's training center in South Korea to make them Captains. A total of 10 pilots are currently being trained, and a new Captain is to come on-line each month.
Jetstar Japan CEO Miyuki Suzuki puts the Captain's coat on Mr. Mitsuhashi. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

Pilot Kuniyasu Mitsuhashi had the honor of being the first. He originally started his career with Japan Airlines (JL/JAL) with Boeing 747-400s and later B777s, and became First Officer on long-haul international routes in 1998. After a brief spell with a domestic commuter airline flying Embraer E-Jets, he joined Jetstar Japan in January 2012, attracted by the LCC's high-frequency operations that would allow him to gain more experience. His first flights as Captain were GK603/602, a Narita - Oita (OIT/RJFO) round-trip.
Jetstar Japan has hired fashion model and actress Mirei Kiritani as 'brand ambassador'. Her signature is on the L1 door of Airbus A320-232(SL) JA18JJ. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

Although Jetstar Japan's hefty losses are one of the reasons why expansion is on hold, the shortage of Airbus A320 pilots as well as maintenance personnel in Boeing-dominant Japan has been a factor in delaying launch of its second hub at Osaka/Kansai (KIX/RJBB) several times. Newcomer Spring Airlines Japan (SJO), which is expected to commence service in May, selected the Boeing 737 for that reason instead of the Airbus narrow-body jetliners Spring Airlines (9C/CQH) already operates.

Source: Traicy, March 3rd. (in Japanese)
Source: Tokyo Shimbun, March 4th. (in Japanese)
Source: Aviation Wire, March 5th. (in Japanese) 

*Post edited/updated on March 5th.

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