Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Spring Japan cuts flights but hopeful for China in 2015.

Spring Airlines Japan [IJ/SJO] has released its Summer 2015 timetable, effective March 29th, which sees no new routes but a reduction of Tokyo/Narita [NRT/RJAA] – Takamatsu [TAK/RJOT] from daily to four-times weekly. It will maintain their twice-daily service to Hiroshima [HIJ/RJOA] and a daily flight to Saga [HSG/RJFS]. Meanwhile, regional international routes to China (Spring Japan eyes Sapporo and China in 2015.), which were planned for Summer 2015, are now targeted "by year-end 2015," according to officials of Japan's latest LCC.

Boeing 737-86N(WL) JA03GR is the third aircraft in Spring Japan's tiny fleet. Two, including this aircraft, are leased from GECAS, while the other is leased from AWAS. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

Frequency for the Takamatsu service was reduced due to "load factors much lower than anticipated," according to the official. They had originally targeted 80% and had plans to make it double-daily. Rival LCC Jetstar Japan [GK/JJP] competes on the same route with two daily round-trips. From March 29th, Spring Japan will operate the service four days a week, on the same days when Chinese parent Spring Airlines [9C/CQH] flies in from Shanghai/Pudong [PVG/ZSPD] to the Shikoku airport, to raise brand awareness.

System Flight Schedule:

Narita – Hiroshima 2 daily with 737-800. (Mar/29 - May/31)
IJ621 NRT 0850 – 1030 HIJ 73H Daily
IJ623 NRT 1655 – 1835 HIJ 73H Daily
IJ622 HIJ 1115 – 1245 NRT 73H Daily
IJ624 HIJ 1920 – 2050 NRT 73H Daily

Narita – Saga 1 daily with 737-800. (Mar/29 - May/31)
IJ601 NRT 1125 – 1340 HSG 73H Daily
IJ602 HSG 1425 – 1610 NRT 73H Daily

Narita – Takamatsu reduced from 7 to 4 weekly with 737-800. (Mar/29 - May/31)
IJ611 NRT 0700 – 0830 TAK 73H Tu/Th/Fr/Su
IJ612 TAK 0915 – 1040 NRT 73H Tu/Th/Fr/Su

Spring Japan's first international routes, which will be regional flights to China, have been delayed and are now planned by the end of 2015. Chongqing [CKG/ZUCK], Lanzhou [LHW/ZLLL], and Wuhan [WUH/ZHHH] are currently being considered (Spring Japan considering Chongqing and Wuhan.), according to the official. The fledgling carrier has started recruiting more cockpit crew, and is calling for 10 pilots at this time. It currently has 15 captains and 12 first officers, and before the end of FY2014 intends to begin training to promote first officers to captains.

Meanwhile, the so-far unprofitable Japanese arm of China's largest LCC group was recapitalized in December with an injection of 900 million JPY from an unnamed source (Spring Japan receives 900 million JPY injection.). However, considering it was raised by issuing new non-voting stocks, the investor is most likely parent Spring Airlines. Spring Japan only launched operations last August (Spring Airlines Japan commences operations.), with the aim of connecting secondary Chinese cities with Japan.

Original plans called for adding five aircraft each year, however, the fleet will be kept at three Boeing 737-800s at least through FY2015 even after it starts international services.

Source: Spring Airlines Japan, January 30th. (in Japanese)
Source: Traicy, February 3rd. (in Japanese)
Source: Aviation Wire, February 3rd. (in Japanese)

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