Monday, August 11, 2014

Skymark commences Sendai – Okinawa.

On August 9th, Skymark Airlines (BC/SKY) launched seasonal service between Sendai (SDJ/RJSS) and Okinawa/Naha (OKA/ROAH). The route will be operated once daily with 177-seat Boeing 737-800s through September 15th.
Boeing 737-82Y(WL) JA73NE taxies past its fellow 737s as it arrives at Haneda. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

Flight Schedule (Aug/1 - Sep/15):
Sendai – Naha NEW 1 daily with 737-800.
BC583 SDJ 0910 – 1205 OKA 73H/738 Daily
BC586 OKA 1820 – 2100 SDJ 73H/738 Daily

In other news, Japan's third largest carrier released their July load factors. The figure was 74.4% system-wide, up 2.8% compared to the same period last year; number of available seats rose 6.7% to 920,949, while passengers carried increased 9.7% to 666,834. Their 36 slot-pairs at Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT) continue to post high figures with all above 70%; the six routes from the preferred airport serving the capital generate roughly 80% of their revenue. Sendai is getting there, with numbers exceeding 60%, along with routes from Naha to Ishigaki (ISG/ROIG) and Miyako (MMY/ROMY), both of which posted over 70%.

Meanwhile, load factors from their new focus city at Yonago (YGJ/RJOH) continue to tread around 30-40%, excluding the double-daily Haneda link, while Tokyo/Narita (NRT/RJAA) sees load factors exceeding 70%, however, with heavy competition with LCCs yield is believed to be low (Skymark mulls pull-out from Narita and Yonago.). In the current fare war, the breakeven point for their Narita operations is estimated around 80-85%.

Sapporo/New Chitose (CTS/RJCC) was the highest, recording 90.9%, up 5.2% from the same period last year. The Fukuoka (FUK/RJFF) route saw the figure decrease by 7.2% to 73.1% as a result of capacity increase following the introduction of the Airbus A330 (Skymark Airlines inaugurates Airbus A330 service.). Kagoshima (KOJ/RJFK) was at 74.6%, Kobe (UKB/RJBE) saw 73.4%, Naha 86.1%, and Yonago 73.7%.

Skymark competes with LCCs Jetstar Japan (GK/JJP) and Vanilla Air (JW/VNL) on two routes; New Chitose saw 77.2%, up 8.7% over last year, and Naha was at 76.4%, down 1.6%. The Yonago link sees no competitor, but the figure was 30.9%.

All routes except for Haneda are struggling. Naha saw 43.5% while New Chitose was at 42.6% (Skymark expands Yonago, axes Asahikawa and Kumamoto.). Kobe remained low at 37.3%, while the Narita link was even lower, as mentioned above. On August 8th, Governor of Shimane Prefecture Shinji Hirai reported that Shinichi Nishikubo, Skymark's President and CEO, promised that "a complete withdrawal will not happen," though it could also mean all routes except for Haneda are at danger of being axed.

Kanto's (Greater Tokyo) third airport at Ibaraki (IBR/RJAF) saw its Fukuoka route at 48.2%, and Nagoya/Chubu Centrair (NGO/RJGG) worst in the system at 24.3% (Skymark adds Fukuoka and Nagoya from Ibaraki.). New Chitose was 72.4%, up 6.4%.

Kobe saw 55.7% (Skymark announces Yonago and Sendai expansion.), while Fukuoka saw 64.6% (up 2.1%) and New Chitose saw 64.1% (up 2.2%).

Naha – Ishigaki posted 73.3%, an increase of 17.0% over the same period last year, while Naha – Miyako saw 70.9%, also an increase of 15.2%.

Reference: Aviation Wire, August 11th. (in Japanese)

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