Saturday, June 14, 2014

Skymark's Airbus A380 to be delayed up to six months.

On June 13th, Skymark Airlines (BC/SKY) announced that delivery of their first Airbus A380 would be delayed by 2.5 months to up to six months due to galley, seats, and other interior parts not meeting required specifications and needing a redesign. "We ordered interiors from two companies," the airline's Managing Director Masakazu Arimori told reporters, adding "The specifications didn’t match. We have ordered reworks."
Skymark's first Airbus A380-841 F-WWSL/JA380A. Fitted with four Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines, it is the 162nd 'whale-jet' to roll off the production line. (Photo: Airbus)

Japan's third largest carrier originally planned to take delivery of their first (Skymark's first Airbus A380 completes maiden flight.) behemoth around October or November to launch their first scheduled international route from Tokyo/Narita (NRT/RJAA) to New York/John F. Kennedy (JFK/KJFK) in December this year or January 2015. They plan to configure the aircraft in an all-premium 394-seat layout, including 114 '170-degree angled' (near-flat) business class seats with a pitch of 152 centimeters (60 inches) and 280 premium economy seats with a pitch of 97 centimeters (38 inches).

The delay would mean the inaugural flight could be pushed back to Summer 2015, however, it would also make time for Skymark, which tumbled to its first net loss in five years (Skymark delays Airbus A330 launch again; now June 14th.), to adjust its strategy. However, President and CEO Shinichi Nishikubo reiterated that they will continue to pursue being "an independent stand-alone carrier," and added "There's no change to the contract. We still intend to take all six A380s."

Although a pioneer in breaking the ANA/JAL duopoly in domestic skies, Skymark's international ambitions may be life-risking. Logic-wise, they would be pursuing the under-served market for affordable premium travel, however, not only would it be the domestic-only airline's first scheduled international attempt, but they would also be entering a very distant market with the world's largest passenger aircraft in an unprecedented all-premium layout. Connections at Narita on Skymark are limited at best and non-existent at the other end. Will Skymark tweak its strategy and change its destination and/or find a partner?

According to the airline, details of the postponement and new in-service target dates will be announced in July.

Source: Reuters Japan, June 13th. (in Japanese)

*Post edited/updated on June 15th.

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