Sunday, January 24, 2016

Skymark to add nonstop Ibaraki – Okinawa.

On January 21st, Skymark Airlines [BC/SKY] announced that it will add Ibaraki [IBR/RJAH] – Okinawa/Naha [OKA/ROAH] nonstop service effective April 28th. The new service will be operated daily using 177-seat Boeing 737-800s. This becomes the first new route launched by the bankrupt airline (Skymark to file for bankruptcy.) since a revamped management was installed by new owners ANA Holdings, parent of All Nippon Airways [NH/ANA], Integral Corporation, and UDS Airlines Invstment (Skymark relaunched with ANA sponsorship.).

Boeing 737-86N(WL) JA73NX at Narita. Skymark completely withdrew from Narita on October 25th, 2014 (Skymark announces Narita closure and Yonago cuts.) after losing the battle against LCCs. It currently operates 26 737s on 16 nonstop routes which mostly originate from its Haneda hub and focus cities at Kobe and Ibaraki. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

Japan's third largest airline currently offers a one-stop fly-through product between the two cities via Kobe [UKB/RJBE]. Making it nonstop cuts travel time from four to three hours and 15 minutes. It is not the first time Skymark has experimented with the route, having operated nonstop as a seasonal service in 2012 from July 1st to September 30th and again in 2013 from July 1st to October 26th. The last new route was Sapporo/New Chitose [CTS/RJCC] – Naha, which was inaugurated on January 29th, 2015, though it was suspended only two months later.

Flight Schedule:
Ibaraki – Naha NEW 1 daily with 737-800. (Apr/28-)
BC539 IBR 1900 – 2215 OKA 73H/738 Daily
BC530 OKA 0725 – 0955 IBR 73H/738 Daily

Skymark, which designates Ibaraki as a focus city, is the only domestic airline at the airport, flying to Fukuoka [FUK/RJFF], Kobe, and New Chitose, though operations have been downsized during restructuring (Skymark downsizes Ibaraki from September.). Ibaraki is dubbed the third airport serving the Kanto (Greater Tokyo) region, located 80 kilometers northeast of the capital, and the only LCC-friendly one in the region, boasting landing fees 30-40% lower than Tokyo/Narita [NRT/RJAA] and Tokyo/Haneda [HND/RJTT].

Once post-deregulation's most successful start-up to challenge the ANA/JAL duopoly, it is now controlled by Integral Corporation, which owns 50.1%, ANA Holdings, with 16.5%, and UDS Airlines Investment, having 33.4%. UDS is a new investment firm jointly owned by Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking, both loyal partners of ANA. Code-sharing with ANA, which was planned for Winter 2016/2017, has now been further postponed, as Skymark continues to refuse to adopt ANA's Able-D reservation system. It would enable code-shares but would essentially relegate Skymark to a de facto puppet of ANA, joining the likes of AIRDO [HD/ADO] (d.b.a. Air Do), Solaseed Air [6J/SNJ], and Star Flyer [7G/SFJ]. Skymark strives to remain operationally independent until its planned re-listing in 2020, while ANA wants to keep it under its influence for as long as possible to shut out true competition at bread-and-butter Haneda.

Source: Skymark Airlines, 2016 January 21st. (in Japanese)
Source: Aviation Wire, 2016 January 21st. (in Japanese)
Source: Yomiuri Shimbun, 2016 January 24th. (in Japanese)

No comments:

Post a Comment