Saturday, February 14, 2015

ANA takes over Air Do's unprofitable secondary routes.

AIRDO [HD/ADO] (d.b.a. Air Do) will be withdrawing from four regional domestic routes from Sapporo/New Chitose [CTS/RJCC] effective March 29th, the beginning of the Summer 2015 timetable, and partner All Nippon Airways [NH/ANA] will fill in. From the capital of Hokkaido, Air Do currently operates twice daily to Fukushima [FKS/RJSF] and Niigata [KIJ/RJSN], and a daily round-trip each to Komatsu [KMQ/RJNK] and Toyama [TOY/RJNT], but all will be reduced to a single ANA round-trip on each route.

Boeing 767-33A/ER JA01HD started life with Belgian start-up CityBird in February 1998 before joining Air Do in April 2000. Unlike the 737-500s, which will be retired by January 2016, all four 767s will be repainted into their latest livery by June this year. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

New Chitose – Fukushima will be flown by 176-seat (all economy) Boeing 737-800s, Komatsu and Toyama routes by 166/167-seat (8 Premium Class and 158/159 economy) 737-800s, and the Niigata link by 74-seat Bombardier DHC-8-400Qs of ANA Holdings' commuter subsidiary ANA Wings [EH/AKX].

Flight Schedule: 
New Chitose – Fukushima NEW 1 daily with 737-800. (Mar/29 - Oct/24)
NH1114 CTS 1645 – 1800 FKS 73H Daily
NH1113 FKS 0950 – 1110 CTS 73H Daily

New Chitose – Komatsu NEW 1 daily with 737-800. (Mar/29 - Oct/24)
NH1174 CTS 1355 – 1530 KMQ 73H Daily
NH1173 KMQ 1140 – 1310 CTS 73H Daily 

New Chitose – Niigata up to 2 daily with DHC-8-400Q. (Mar/29 - Oct/24)
NH1858/EH1858 CTS 1230 – 1350 KIJ DH4 Daily *Existing service. ANA Wings.
NH1860/EH1860 CTS 1600 – 1710 KIJ DH4 Daily *Jun/1 - Sep/30. ANA Wings.
NH1857/EH1857 KIJ 0740 – 0900 CTS DH4 Daily *Existing service. ANA Wings.
NH1859/EH1859 KIJ 1120 – 1235 CTS DH4 Daily *Jun/1 - Sep/30. ANA Wings.

New Chitose – Toyama NEW 1 daily with 737-800. (Mar/29 - Oct/24)
NH1182 CTS 1340 – 1510 TOY 73H Daily
NH1181 TOY 1140 – 1305 CTS 73H Daily

ANA withdrew from the Fukushima, Komatsu, and Toyama routes in November 2009, virtually transferring them to lower-cost Air Do, which is 14% owned by ANA Holdings, parent of Japan's largest carrier. Instead ANA put its code on these three routes, like with all other Air Do flights. However, due to weak demand, they are ironically being transferred back to ANA. For the New Chitose – Niigata route, ANA Wings has operated a single round-trip alongside Air Do's double-daily flights, but with no aircraft up-gauge after Air Do's suspension, it translates to a 77% capacity cut. A seasonal second flight has been loaded between June 1st and September 30th.

Boeing 737-881(WL) JA65AN taxies for departure from New Chitose Airport near Sapporo. ANA Group's Boeing narrow-body fleet is comprised of 30 737-800s, two 737-700ERs, 12 737-700s, and 17 737-500s, with six more 737-800s on order. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

Meanwhile, the only increase by Air Do for the Summer 2015 timetable is an addition of two more round-trips on the New Chitose – Sendai [SDJ/RJSS] route; hence the fleet is being reduced by one aircraft, with the return of a 126-seat 737-500 to ANA in April. Their seventh 144-seat 737-700 will arrive from ANA in September, and the two remaining 737-500s will be retired by January 2016.

Air Do's axing of these secondary routes leaves the Hokkaido-based carrier with only Kobe [UKB/RJBE], Okayama [OKJ/RJOB], Sendai, and Tokyo/Haneda [HND/RJTT] from New Chitose. On the other hand, they seem to be faring better with their secondary Hokkaido routes from Haneda to Asahikawa [AKJ/RJEC], Hakodate [HKD/RJCH], Kushiro [KUH/RJCK], Memambetsu [MMB/RJCM], and Obihiro [OBO/RJCB]. It may translate to the reality that even though Air Do may be lower-cost than ANA or JAL, it is still not easy to make both ends meet with rural routes from cities other than Tokyo.

Source: Air Do, January 21st. (in Japanese)
Source: All Nippon Airways, January 21st. (in Japanese) 
Source: Aviation Wire, January 23rd. (in Japanese)

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