Friday, December 19, 2014

Solaseed Air to add Ishigaki and Nagoya from Okinawa.

On December 19th, Skynet Asia Airways [6J/SNJ] (d.b.a. Solaseed Air) revealed that they will launch Okinawa/Naha [OKA/ROAH] – Ishigaki [ISG/ROIG] and Naha – Nagoya/Chubu Centrair [NGO/RJGG] on March 29th, 2015, the beginning of the Summer 2015 timetable. Frequencies, schedules, and other details will be released during the latter half of January. 174-seat Boeing 737-800s, on which the fleet has been standardized, will be assigned.

Boeing 737-86N(WL) JA803X takes off from Tokyo International Airport at Haneda. Solaseed Air completed transitioning to an all-737-800 fleet on September 30th (Solaseed Air bids farewell to the Boeing 737-400.). (Photo: Aviation Wire)

The Miyazaki [KMI/RJFM]-based carrier will take delivery of its 12th 737-800 in March 2015, and it has been anticipated that new routes would be launched, in addition to earlier-announced international charters (Solaseed Air eyes international charters in FY2015.) to China, South Korea, and Taiwan. Although not designated a hub, Solaseed Air has a growing Naha operation, with two daily flights to Kagoshima [KOJ/RJFK], three to Kobe [UKB/RJBE], and one to Miyazaki. All flights code-share with All Nippon Airways [NH/ANA], a subsidiary of ANA Holdings, which owns 8.56% of Solaseed Air.

The Naha – Chubu Centrair route already sees three carriers competing; ANA Group operates two daily, Japan Transocean Air [NU/JTA] three, and Skymark Airlines [BC/SKY] two. Meanwhile, Naha – Ishigaki is a fiercer battleground, with ANA Group flying eight daily, JTA eight daily, Ryukyu Air Commuter [RAC] one, and Skymark three. The latter route additionally saw LCC Peach Aviation [MM/APJ] until July 18th (Peach launches Naha hub; but Naha – Ishigaki axed.), when they suspended the route and eventually axed it, citing heavy competition.

However, this is probably a plan already well-coordinated with de facto parent ANA, like the case with Star Flyer [7G/SFJ] (Star Flyer launches Yamaguchi-Ube.) when they virtually took over some of ANA's flights at Yamaguchi-Ube. Both of Solaseed Air's new routes will probably code-share with ANA, and instead Japan's largest carrier will likely reduce frequency to free-up some narrow-body aircraft.

Source: Skynet Asia Airways, December 19th. (PDF; in Japanese)

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