Friday, September 26, 2014

Spring Japan reduces schedule for Winter 2014/2015.

Spring Airlines Japan (IJ/SJO) has released their Winter 2014/2015 timetable effective October 26th. Their planned increase of Tokyo/Narita (NRT/RJAA) – Takamatsu (TAK/RJOT) service to two daily round-trips has been postponed, and their current double-daily Narita – Saga (HSG/RJFS) link will be reduced to once-daily. Meanwhile, all flights, including to Hiroshima (HIJ/RJOA), are being re-timed.
Boeing 737-86N(WL) JA03GR passing through Honolulu on delivery in March 2014. The aircraft is leased from GECAS. (Photo: HNL RareBirds)

The fledgling Narita-based LCC, which just launched operations on August 1st (Spring Airlines Japan commences operations.), cites Saga not being able to accept the airline's desired time as the main reason for the frequency cut, while also noting their inability to sustain their current utilization rates. However, the new timetable leaves just four daily round-trips for a trio of Boeing 737-800s. Is there a lack of staff?

Flight Schedule (Oct/25/2014 - Mar/28/2015):
Narita – Hiroshima 2 daily with 737-800.
IJ621 NRT 0845 – 1030 HIJ 73H Daily
IJ623 NRT 1655 – 1840 HIJ 73H Tu/Th
IJ623 NRT 1725 – 1910 HIJ 73H Mo/Sa
IJ623 NRT 1730 – 1915 HIJ 73H We/Fr/Su 
IJ622 HIJ 1115 – 1235 NRT 73H Daily
IJ624 HIJ 1925 – 2045 NRT 73H Tu/Th
IJ624 HIJ 1955 – 2115 NRT 73H Mo/Sa
IJ624 HIJ 2000 – 2120 NRT 73H We/Fr/Su

Narita – Saga reduced from 2 to 1 daily with 737-800.
IJ603 NRT 1420 – 1650 HSG 73H Daily
IJ604 HSG 1735 – 1910 NRT 73H Daily

Narita – Takamatsu 1 daily with 737-800. Planned 2nd daily postponed.
IJ613 NRT 1230 – 1410 TAK 73H Daily
IJ614 TAK 1455 – 1610 NRT 73H Mo/Tu/Th/Fr/Sa/Su
IJ614 TAK 1515 – 1630 NRT 73H We

Spring Airlines Japan is the Japanese unit of China's largest LCC Spring Airlines (9C/CQH). Japanese largest travel agency JTB also holds a minority interest. Flights were originally planned for May, however, paperwork delays and crew training taking more time forced them to postpone their launch twice (Spring Airlines Japan delays launch to August 1st.).

Although they haven't released load factors, the figures are estimated to be lower than the target line of 70% (breakeven is probably around 75 - 80%), especially for the Saga and Takamatsu routes. It was reportedly considering its fourth domestic destination in early 2015, and plans call for five aircraft to be added each year from next year, but can they keep up with their ambitions?

Reference: Spring Airlines Japan, September 25th. (in Japanese)

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