Saturday, May 16, 2015

Star Flyer back in black, mulls international charters.

Star Flyer [7G/SFJ], which reported a 431 million JPY net profit for FY2014 ending on March 2015, announced its mid-term strategy dubbed Pursuit of Star Flyer-ness 2020. During the next five years, the Kitakyushu [KKJ/RJFR]-based carrier will consider midnight international charters to regional Asian destinations, as well as revamp its aircraft interiors and crew uniforms with an emphasis on its high service quality, which has earned the carrier first place for Japan Customer Satisfaction Index (JCSI) in the domestic long-distance travel category for six consecutive years.

Airbus A320-214(SL) JA20MC rotates from Haneda's Runway 34R. Star Flyer holds 19 slot-pairs at the heavily-regulated downtown Tokyo airport, with another four allocated for international/domestic connections which are specifically used for Haneda – Kansai. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

A reverse from a 3.04 billion JPY net loss in FY2013, Star Flyer's total sales stood at 34.7 billion JPY for FY2014 (5.2% increase over FY2013), operating profit was 247 million JPY (3.04 billion JPY operating loss in FY2013), while ordinary profit was 910 million JPY (2.64 billion JPY ordinary loss for FY2013). "Material uncertainty" whether the carrier could remain a going concern, warned in October 2013, was resolved by April 2014.

Star Flyer axed their four-times daily Osaka/Kansai [KIX/RJBB] – Fukuoka [FUK/RJFF] service in February 2014 as well as their double-daily Kitakyushu – Busan/Gimhae [PUS/RKPK] route, which was their sole but highly unprofitable international service, the following month, and instead shifted that capacity to launch Fukuoka – Nagoya/Chubu Centrair [NGO/RJGG] in March 2014, replacing the same number of ANA flights. In October, it reduced the hotly-contested Tokyo/Haneda [HND/RJTT]  – Fukuoka route from 10 to seven round-trips, and instead launched Haneda – Yamaguchi-Ube [UBJ/RJDC] (Star Flyer launches Yamaguchi-Ube.), again virtually taking over some ANA flights.

Network restructuring brought total passengers carried down by 18% to 141 million and available seat kilometers (ASK) down by 14.8%, but translated to a 2% system-wide load factor increase to 67.7%. All flights except for a single Haneda – Kitakyushu round-trip code-share with All Nippon Airways (Star Flyer to add ANA's code on all flights.), subsidiary of 17.26% owner ANA Holdings, and schedules are closely coordinated with them. Star Flyer earned a whopping 10.7 billion JPY just from code-sharing payments from ANA, an increase of 88% over the previous fiscal year, accounting for over 30% of their revenue. ANA veteran Sadami Matsuishi virtually took the helm in March 2014 and was officially installed as President in June (New Star Flyer President is from ANA.).

Sadami Matsuishi, former ANA Operations Director, heads Star Flyer. ANA virtually has the tiny carrier's slots at its disposal as seen through route swaps and heavy code-sharing. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

Their FY2015 forecast estimates total sales at 34.1 billion JPY, operating profit at 380 million JPY, and ordinary profit at 1.18 billion JPY, producing a net profit of 820 million JPY. Calculations are based on currency rates staying at 125 JPY per USD and 145 JPY per EUR, and kerosene price averaging 70 USD per barrel.

No new routes are planned for the moment, and Star Flyer will concentrate on increasing profitability on its five current routes, though frequency adjustments are not ruled out. Meanwhile, midnight international charters to neighboring Asian cities from Kitakyushu, Kansai, Chubu Centrair, and Haneda, all 24-hour airports, are being considered. Its fleet of 150-seat Airbus A320s will be kept at nine, with orders for two more aircraft deferred indefinitely. However, Mr. Matsuishi has said "It's difficult to make a profit with 150-seat aircraft," adding the interior product revamp could include raising capacity to 166 seats, which would be identical to ANA's A320s.

Source: Star Flyer, May 1st. (in Japanese)
Source: Aviation Wire, May 4th. (in Japanese)
Source: Traicy, May 7th. (in Japanese)
Source: Aviation Wire, May 7th. (in Japanese)

No comments:

Post a Comment