Friday, February 5, 2016

Star Flyer loads Kitakyushu – Taipei charter.

On February 4th, Star Flyer [7G/SFJ] announced that they will operate three round-trip charters between Kitakyushu [KKJ/RJFR] and Taipei/Taoyuan [TPE/RCTP] during Japan's Golden Week peak travel period in May. 150-seat Airbus A320s will be assigned. Travel agencies JTB World Vacations and H.I.S. will market the packaged tour in Japan, while an undisclosed firm in Taipei has been contracted to sell tickets in Taiwan.

Airbus A320-214 JA05MC City of Kitakyushu at Haneda. Star Flyer is considering revamping the interior of its A320s, as well as increasing seat count from 150 to 166, matching that of ANA's A320s. The current generous low-density configuration would be unsustainable if and when fuel prices go up again. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

In May last year, the Kitakyushu-based airline had announced that it would consider midnight international charters to regional Asian destinations from its base as well as Nagoya/Chubu Centrair [NGO/RJGG], Osaka/Kansai [KIX/RJBB], and Tokyo/Haneda [HND/RJTT], as part of its mid-term strategy dubbed Pursuit of Star Flyer-ness 2020 (Star Flyer back in black, mulls international charters.). The red-eye flights increase utilization by flying them during the midnight when most domestic airports are closed.

Flight Schedule:
Kitakyushu – Taipei NEW charter with A320-200.
7G9671 KKJ 2330 – 0100(+1) TPE 32A/320 *May/2, 4, 6.
7G9672 TPE 0230 – 0550 KKJ 32A/320 *May/3, 5, 7.

With assistance from ANA Holdings, Star Flyer successfully turned itself around in FY2014, reporting a 431 million JPY net profit for the fiscal year ending in March 2015 over a 3.04 billion JPY loss for FY2013. The parent of Japan's largest airline is Star Flyer's biggest shareholder and has a 17.96% stake, and its current President Sadami Matsuishi is an ANA veteran (New Star Flyer President is from ANA.). All routes and all but a single Haneda – Kitakyushu round-trip code-share with ANA, and the partnership generates well over 30% of the Kyushu carrier's total revenue (Star Flyer launches Yamaguchi-Ube.).

Star Flyer currently operates nine 150-seat A320s on domestic routes. Their sole scheduled international route launched in July 2012 between Kitakyushu and Busan/Gimhae [PUS/RKPK] was suspended in March 2014 due to heavy losses.

Source: Star Flyer, 2016 February 4th. (in Japanese)

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