Friday, January 31, 2014

Skymark releases Summer 2014, expects FY2013 loss.

On January 29th, Skymark Airlines (BC/SKY) released the first part of their Summer 2014 schedule effective from March 30th through April 30th. Including previously announced plans, the airline is expanding ambitiously at its focus cities of Ibaraki (IBR/RJAH), Sendai (SDJ/RJSS), and Yonago (YGJ/RJOH), but suspending all services to Asahikawa (AKJ/RJEC) and Kumamoto (KMJ/RJFT). They are also cutting Ishigaki's (ISG/ROIG) non-stop links to Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT), Tokyo/Narita (NRT/RJAA), and Kobe (UKB/RJBE), and will instead re-route passengers through Okinawa/Naha (OKA/ROAH). Through-fares to Ishigaki will be offered from Haneda.
Skymark's Boeing 737-800s await their next flights at Haneda. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

New Routes:
Ibaraki - Fukuoka (FUK/RJFF) new 2 daily with 73H/738. *From April 18.
Ibaraki - Nagoya/Chubu Centrair (NGO/RJGG) new 1 daily with 73H/738. *From April 18.
Kobe - Sendai new 2 daily with 73H/738. *From April 1.
Yonago - Naha new 1 daily with 73H/738. *From April 1.
Yonago - Sapporo/New Chitose (CTS/RJCC) new 1 daily with 73H/738. *From April 1.
Yonago - Haneda new 2 daily with 73H/738. *From April 1.

See also:
Skymark announces expansion at Ibaraki.
Skymark announces Yonago and Sendai expansion.

Frequency Increases:
Haneda - Kobe from 5 to 6 daily. *From April 1.
Haneda - Naha from 5 to 6 daily. *From April 1.
Haneda - New Chitose from 7 to 8 daily. *From April 1.

Frequency Reductions:
Haneda - Fukuoka from 11 to 10 daily. *From April 1.

Kobe - Ishigaki.
Haneda - Asahikawa. *From April 1.
Haneda - Ishigaki. *Through-fare via Naha will be offered.
Haneda - Kumamoto. *From April 1.
Narita - Asahikawa. *From April 1.
Narita - Ishigaki.

Skymark is taking delivery of its first of 10 all-premium Airbus A330s in February, and will place it in service on the Haneda - Fukuoka route from April. A total of five will be delivered this year, with the remainder arriving in 2015. Meanwhile, two older Boeing 737-800s will be returned to their lessors in April and October, respectively, reducing the B737 fleet to 29. Their first Airbus A380 will arrive around August/September, to launch business/premium economy-only flights to New York/John F. Kennedy (JFK/KJFK) from December.
Skymark's first Airbus A380 is now under construction at Toulouse. (Photo: Airbus)

Skymark also announced that they are expecting a 1 billion JPY loss for fiscal year 2013, ending in March 2014, down from a 2 billion JPY profit forecast. Increased competition from LCCs as well as a stronger All Nippon Airways (NH/ANA) and Japan Airlines (JL/JAL) brought total revenue down 5.2% compared to FY2012 to 86.4 billion JPY, while the rapid devaluation of the JPY resulting from 'Abenomics' increased fuel costs. Expenses to prepare for the two new Airbus wide-body jetliners have also been higher than estimated, and the airline has delayed launching its frequent-flyer program, though it will likely be launched before they go international with the A380s.

Skymark is slowly transforming themselves from a LCC, though they have never classified themselves as such, to more of a hybrid airline. Most of the new domestic routes have no direct competitors, and the A330 and A380 products are something not offered by the majors nor by the LCCs. Finding itself caught in between the heavyweights and the new LCCs, 2014-2015 will see if the airline can carve out its own niche for survival.

Source: Skymark Airlines (PDF; in Japanese)
Source: Nikkei Shimbun (in Japanese)

Air Do is evaluating the Boeing 737-900/800.

Hokkaido-based AIRDO (HD/ADO) (d.b.a Air Do) is reportedly evaluating the acquisition of Boeing 737-900s or -800s. An initial fleet of two will be inducted in fiscal year 2015. The carrier currently leases four 144-seat B737-700s from All Nippon Airways (NH/ANA), with two more coming this year, but are reportedly in need of an aircraft seating around 170 to 190.
Boeing 737-781(WL) JA11AN at Haneda. All B737s are leased from ANA. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

A replacement for its B767 fleet will be decided by 2017, which will be either B787s or B777s. These will most likely come secondhand from 14% owner ANA Holdings. Meanwhile, Air Do will refurbish its two 270-seat B767-381s leased from ANA (JA8359 & JA601A) with an all-economy 288-seat configuration by summer.

Source: Hokkaido Shimbun (in Japanese)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Vanilla Air lands at Sapporo, increases Taipei.

Vanilla Air (JW/VNL) launched Sapporo/New Chitose (CTS/RJCC) service from Tokyo/Narita (NRT/RJAA) on January 29th, coinciding with the delivery of their third 180-seat Airbus A320. The inaugural flight from Narita departed with 160 passengers, while the inaugural return leg from Hokkaido had 125. It was operated by A320-216(SL) JA01VA. The airline also added a second round-trip to Taipei/Taoyuan (TPE/RCTP), a midnight flight, on this day.
Airbus A320-216(SL) JA01VA at Narita. (Photo: Aviation Wire)
Narita - New Chitose new 3 daily with 32A/320. 
JW901 NRT 0800 – 0945 CTS 32A/320 Daily
JW903 NRT 1235 – 1420 CTS 32A/320 Daily
JW905 NRT 1730 – 1915 CTS 32A/320 Daily
JW902 CTS 1020 – 1205 NRT 32A/320 Daily
JW904 CTS 1510 – 1655 NRT 32A/320 Daily
JW906 CTS 1950 – 2135 NRT 32A/320 Daily

Narita - Taoyuan from 1 to 2 daily with 32A/320.
JW105 NRT 2220 - 0125 TPE 32A/320 Daily
JW106 TPE 0300 - 0710 NRT 32A/320 Daily *From January 30.

For the Hokkaido route, one-way fares are being offered from 5,500 JPY with 'Simple Vanilla', which includes a 20-kilogram baggage allowance, or from 8,000 JPY with 'Komi-komi Vanilla', which includes the same baggage allowance plus free seat selection and is refundable with a cancellation fee. Their next new destination is Seoul/Incheon (ICN/RKSI), to be launched on March 1st.

Vanilla Air, a LCC 100% owned by ANA Holdings, is the new identity for AirAsia Japan (JW/WAJ), which ceased operations under the AirAsia brand on October 26th, 2013, after the joint venture with the Malaysian LCC was dissolved in June 2013 over differences in strategies. It re-launched under the new brand on December 20th.

Source: Aviation Wire (in Japanese)

Skymark announces expansion at Ibaraki.

On January 28th, Skymark Airlines (BC/SKY) announced the expansion of operations at Ibaraki (IBR/RJAH), adding Fukuoka (FUK/RJFF) and Nagoya/Chubu Centrair (NGO/RJGG) to its network starting on April 18th.
Boeing 737-86N JA737M at Haneda. This aircraft will be retired in September. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

Ibaraki - Fukuoka new 2 daily with 73H/738.
BC831 IBR 1015 - 1215 FUK 73H/738 Daily
BC835 IBR 1515 - 1715 FUK 73H/738 Daily
BC832 FUK 1250 - 1435 IBR 73H/738 Daily
BC836 FUK 1750 - 1935 IBR 73H/738 Daily

Ibaraki - Chubu Centrair new 1 daily with 73H/738.
BC867 IBR 2010 - 2110 NGO 73H/738 Daily
BC862 NGO 0835 - 0940 IBR 73H/738 Daily

A 60-day-advance one-way fare for Ibaraki - Fukuoka is being offered from 7,700 JPY, and the Ibaraki - Chubu Centrair route from 5,800 JPY, including taxes and airport fees. Skymark currently operates to Sapporo/New Chitose (CTS/RJCC) and Kobe (UKB/RJBE) from Ibaraki, and also offers through-ticket fares to Okinawa/Naha (OKA/ROAH) and Yonago (YGJ/RJOH) via its Kobe hub.

With Chinese LCC Spring Airlines (9C/CQH) being the only other carrier serving Ibaraki, Skymark is the sole domestic airline at Japan's first LCC-dedicated airport, which was named the 'Low-cost Airport of the Year 2011' by Australian aviation think-tank Centre for Aviation (CAPA). Although a seductive 500-JPY bus service connects the airport with central Tokyo, almost 80 kilometers away, in about two hours, Skymark has found the airport convenient for those living in the northern part of Kanto, or the Greater Tokyo area, including the prefectures of Tochigi and Ibaraki.

Source: Skymark Airlines (PDF; in Japanese)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

BusinessFlyer TG041: KKC - BKK on Thai Airways International's Airbus A300.

Travel date: November 2013
Flight: TG041
Route: Khon Kaen (KKC/VTUK) - Bangkok/Suvarnabhumi (BKK/VTBS)
Carrier: Thai Airways International (TG/THA)
Aircraft: Airbus A300B4-622R HS-TAW 'Suranaree'
Class: Royal Silk Class (Business)
Direct distance: 377 km (234 miles)
Flight time: 56 minutes

We arrived at the airport, located approximately 10 kilometers northwest of the city of Khon Kaen, at around 0740. Home to 204,000 and a strategic transport hub of northeastern Thailand or 'Isan' (pronounced e-saan), Khon Kaen is a growing destination both in terms of business and tourism. Check-in with Thai Airways International (TG/THA), often referred to as simply THAI, was smooth with a dedicated counter for Royal Silk Class, their business class product, but there were also no waiting lines for economy with two lanes open. The departures hall housing the check-in counters as well as THAI and Thai AirAsia's (FD/AIQ) ticketing offices is located on the second floor, which also has Black Canyon Coffee and small souvenir shops, while the arrivals hall is located on the first floor along with two small shops, a foreign-exchange kiosk, and a handful of rental car counters. There is a restaurant with good Wi-Fi internet on the third floor.
Airbus A300B4-622R HS-TAW 'Suranaree' at Khon Kaen. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

No observation decks are there, but the adjacent parking lot provides an almost unobstructed view of the single 3,050-meter runway. Updated to accommodate international flights in 2005, Khon Kaen Airport is currently served by THAI four times daily from Bangkok/Suvarnabhumi (BKK/VTBS), including one flight operated under the THAI Smile brand, twice daily by Thai AirAsia from Bangkok/Don Mueang (DMK/VTBD), and twice weekly from Chiang Mai (CNX/VTCC) by Kannithi Aviation (dba Kan Air) (K8/KND). Lao Central Airlines (LF/LKA) runs seasonal international charters to and from Luang Prabang (LPQ/VLLB) in neighboring Laos, and rumors have it that Nok Air (DD/NOK) plans to launch a Phuket (HKT/VTSP) service.

Inside Khon Kaen Airport's terminal. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

There was only one lane for security check and no priority lane, but the line never seemed to get long. Tickets were checked and we were in the departures area within minutes. As Royal Silk Class passengers, we were invited to THAI's Royal Silk Lounge, which looked a bit dated with some furniture and the carpet worn out, but it provided free drinks and snacks, along with free Wi-Fi internet plus a variety of newspapers and magazines in both Thai and English. Staff at the entrance notified us when boarding started at 0820. Announcements were made first in Thai followed by English. Handicapped passengers were called first, followed by Royal Orchid Plus Gold and Star Alliance Gold holders. As we boarded our Airbus A300, we were greeted by THAI's cabin crew with a traditional 'wai' (Thai greeting), and a flight attendant guided us to our seats. They were handing out newspapers and blankets, along with a welcome drink, with a choice of apple juice, orange juice, or water, plus a hot towel.

THAI's Royal Silk Lounge at Khon Kaen. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

At 0843 the doors were closed and push-back started at 0845, on time. The two Pratt & Whitney PW4158 engines were started, and we taxied to the northern end of the runway. The aircraft rolled down and took off from Runway 21 at 0855, only using about two thirds or less of the total length. Only two minutes later, the seat-belt signs were turned off, and the cabin crew headed straight to the galleys to prepare for in-flight service for this 40-minute flight. For Royal Silk Class, they laid dining cloth on our tables, and we were served a pre-set tray with a meal served on real China and silverware. This was all done by 0905, when Mr. Dhanupath made the Captain's announcement welcoming passengers for what THAI calls Royal Orchid Service. The crew went through the aisle several times serving tamarind juice, orange juice, apple juice, hot tea, hot coffee, and water. Staff were smiling, but seemed to be more preoccupied with the list of tasks they had to do in such a short time.

The Royal Silk Class cabin on THAI's Airbus A300. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

THAI is one of the last few original Airbus A300 operators still flying the type on scheduled passenger services. Our aircraft for today was HS-TAW, an A300B4-622R delivered to THAI back on August 12th, 1998, and named 'Suranaree'. THAI's A300-600Rs seat 46 in Royal Silk Class and 201 in economy for a total of 247. First introduced in 1977, the airline acquired a total of 33 A300s (C4-203 x1, B4-103 x7, B4-203 x4, B4-601 x6, B4-605R x2, B4-622R x13) directly from the European manufacturer, forming the backbone of the regional fleet serving trunk intra-Asian routes. However, since the introduction of the Airbus A330s and Boeing 777s as well as the transferring of more regional routes to Nok Air and THAI Smile, their roles have gradually been relegated and the type currently serves just five domestic routes from Suvarnabhumi: Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai (CEI/VTCT), Hat Yai (HDY/VTSS), Khon Kaen, and Phuket. It flies occasional international charters as well as substitutes for other aircraft when necessary. As of January 2014, THAI only had six of the example remaining: HS-TAO 'Chanthaburi', HS-TAT 'Srimuang', HS-TAW 'Suranaree', HS-TAX 'Thepsatri', HS-TAY 'Srisoonthorn', and HS-TAZ 'Srisubhan'.

Something close to a full meal for the 40-minute domestic flight. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

Flight attendants started collecting dishes at 0920, and at that time descent had already been started. Seat-belt signs were turned on three minutes later. We passed over Samut Prakan province with our destination airport to the right of us, and made a sharp turn to the right above the Gulf of Thailand. Lining up for Runway 01R, gears were down at 0933. However, just a few kilometers before landing, the aircraft aborted landing and rapidly started to climb again. The Captain told us that there was a problem with the runway, but we later learned that an Oman Air (WY/OMA) Airbus A330 which was right before us was stuck on the runway after landing. So our aircraft made a final approach to Runway 01L, and with the gears down once again at 0949, we touched down at 0951 local time, for a total flight time of 56 minutes. Had we not had the go-around, it would have been exactly 40 minutes. We taxied to Suvarnabhumi's Gate B5 and blocked in at 0959, 19 minutes behind schedule. After an eight-minute walk to the domestic baggage claim hall, our suitcase was there by 1015.
Flying over Nakhon Ratchasima province. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

THAI provides efficient, relatively-consistent quality domestic services, but they have been feeling much more than pinches from the advent of LCCs, especially Thai AirAsia. June 2013 saw the government approving the spin-off of THAI's low-cost hybrid unit THAI Smile as a 100% subsidiary named Thai Smile Airways, and this should accelerate the transferring of additional domestic routes to the new child which operates only Airbus A320s, as well as the retirement of THAI's Airbus A300s and Boeing 737-400s. LCC Nok Air, 49% controlled by THAI, is also expanding and 'de facto' taking over some flights. Although no official retirement date has been set yet, the latest plan calls for the A300 to be retired in 2014 and the B737-400 in 2015. Hop on them while you can.

Grounded JAL Boeing 787 returns to service.

Japan Airlines (JL/JAL) returned Boeing 787-8 JA834J to service early morning on January 28th with flight JL2, which took off from Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT) at 0022 local time. It arrived eight hours and a half later at San Francisco (SFO/KSFO) without any abnormalities. The aircraft was grounded on January 14th after a battery problem was discovered during a check-up at Tokyo/Narita (NRT/RJAA), while it was being prepared for a flight to Bangkok/Suvarnabhumi (BKK/VTBS) as flight JL707. (Battery problem grounds a JAL Boeing 787.)

The damaged battery had a venting valve for one of the eight cells activated and liquid had leaked inside. It has now been replaced by a new one, and after finding no problems testing with the new battery, the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) gave permission to return the aircraft to service. The damaged battery is still under investigation and JCAB officials have quoted "it's not something we will know today or tomorrow", suggesting it is likely to take a much longer time.

Source: Aviation Wire (in Japanese)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fuji Dream Airlines' Summer 2014 changes.

Fuji Dream Airlines (JH/FDA) has released its Summer 2014 timetable effective March 30th. The most notable change is the inauguration of Yamagata (GAJ/RJSC) service (Fuji Dream Airlines announces Yamagata.). FDA is taking delivery of its eighth aircraft, an Embraer ERJ170-200/STD (E175) wearing the color 'tea green', in March.
FDA's 1st 'Dream Red' and 7th 'Yellow' Embraer E-Jets at Komaki. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

New Routes:
Nagoya/Komaki (NKM/RJNA) - Yamagata new 1 daily with E70.
JH383 NKM 1330 - 1435 GAJ E70 Daily *March 30 - June 30.
JH383 NKM 1150 - 1255 GAJ E70 Daily *July 1 - October 25.
JH384 GAJ 1505 - 1620 NKM E70 Daily *March 30 - June 30.
JH384 GAJ 1325 - 1440 NKM E70 Daily
July 1 - October 25.

Frequency Increases:
Komaki - Aomori (AOJ/RJSA) from 2 to 3 daily. *From July 1.
Komaki - Hanamaki (HNA/RJSI) from 2 to 3 daily.

Service to Aomori was served three times daily for Summer 2013, but was reduced to two again for the snowy northern winter season of Aomori. Yamagata is growing, receiving a second daily connection to Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJAA) with Japan Airlines (JL/JAL)-subsidiary J-Air (XM/JLJ) as well.

Source: Fuji Dream Airlines (PDF; in Japanese)

ANA Boeing 737-500 JA353K leaves Japan.

On January 24th, another All Nippon Airways' (NH/ANA) Boeing 737-500 quietly left Japan. B737-5YO JA353K departed Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT) at 1336 local time as flight NH9434, and after making stops at Guam/Antonio B. Won Pat (GUM/PGUM), Majuro (MAJ/PKMJ) of the Marshall Islands, and Honolulu (HNL/PHNL), it arrived at Pinal Airpark (MZJ/KMZJ) in Marana, Arizona, U.S.A. at 1423 local time on January 25th, about 41 hours after leaving Japanese soil. It is likely to be parted out and scrapped.
Sister Boeing 737-54K JA306K at Fukuoka. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

JA353K was originally delivered to Rio Sul (SL/RSL) of Brazil on December 15, 1993. First Security Bank of Utah bought the aircraft in February 2001 as N104NK, and then passed it on to Air Nippon (EL/ANK), which registered the aircraft JA353K on March 7th, 2001. Transferred to ANA's then relatively-low-cost-subsidiary Air Next (7A/NXA) in March 2006, it eventually became part of ANA Wings' (EH/AKX) fleet when Air Next along with Air Central (NV/CRF) were merged into Air Nippon Network (EH/AKX) to form ANA Wings, as part of ANA's reorganization and simplification of its subsidiaries, in October 2010.

The aircraft was the last 133-seat Boeing 737-500 in the ANA Wings fleet, making it an odd-ball where others are configured with 126. ANA currently has 14 of the variant remaining, all with ANA Wings plying domestic regional flights, and plans to replace the fleet with additional mainline-ANA B737-800s as well as Mitsubishi MRJ90s, of which 15 are on firm order for deliveries starting in spring 2017.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Skymark announces Yonago and Sendai expansion.

Skymark Airlines (BC/SKY) has released the timetable for their four new routes which are being launched on April 1st. Their Sendai (SDJ/RJSS) and Yonago (YGJ/RJOH) focus cities will see expansion.
Skymark's Boeing 737-8FZ(WL) JA737U at Sendai. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

Kobe (UKB/RJBE) - Sendai new 2 daily with 73H/738.
BC152 UKB 0925 - 1050 SDJ 73H/738 Daily
BC156 UKB 1745 - 1910 SDJ 73H/738 Daily
BC153 SDJ 1130 - 1300 UKB 73H/738 Daily
BC157 SDJ 1950 - 2120 UKB 73H/738 Daily

Yonago - Okinawa/Naha (OKA/ROAH) new 1 daily with 73H/738.
BC251 YGJ 0835 - 1040 OKA 73H/738 Daily
BC252 OKA 1225 - 1425 YGJ 73H/738 Daily

Yonago - Sapporo/New Chitose (CTS/RJCC) new 1 daily with 73H/738.
BC277 YGJ 1735 - 1930 CTS 73H/738 Daily
BC278 CTS 1910 - 2110 YGJ 73H/738 Daily

Yonago - Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT) new 2 daily with 73H/738.
BC220 YGJ 0720 - 0845 HND 73H/738 Daily
BC224 YGJ 1500 - 1625 HND 73H/738 Daily
BC221 HND 0640 - 0800 YGJ 73H/738 Daily
BC225 HND 1535 - 1655 YGJ 73H/738 Daily

Skymark is quickly building up its Yonago focus city, after only starting operations at this airport in Tottori prefecture on December 20th, 2013, when they launched non-stop service to Kobe and Tokyo/Narita (NRT/RJAA). One of the Kobe flights extends to Ibaraki (IBR/RJAH). Skymark already connects Sendai with Fukuoka (FUK/RJFF) and New Chitose.
Source: Skymark Airlines (PDF; in Japanese)

Star Flyer takes 13th Airbus A320.

Star Flyer's (7G/SFJ) 13th aircraft, Airbus A320-214(SL) JA23MC, arrived at the airline's base of Kitakyushu (KKJ/RJFR) from Toulouse as flight 7G5931 on January 24th. Configured with 150 seats, 'Spirit of Kitakyushu' was handed over on January 20th. It is the fourth sharklet-equipped A320 in their fleet. Star Flyer's fleet now stands at 11, as two older A320s have already been returned to their lessors.
Airbus A320-214 JA08MC, Star Flyer's 8th aircraft, at Kitakyushu. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

In other news, Star Flyer has managed to find 26 voluntary retirements, reducing the number of employees to 660, as part of the current restructuring plan. They will also suspend all four daily Osaka/Kansai (KIX/RJBB) - Fukuoka (FUK/RJFF) round-trips after February 19th, followed by their double daily Kitakyushu - Busan/Gimhae (PUS/RKPK) route, their sole international service, after March 29th, and reduce the fleet to nine A320s. Its eight executives have taken 15-30% salary cuts. Meanwhile, the airline will start placing All Nippon Airways' (NH/ANA) code on all of its 10 Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT) - Fukuoka round-trips on February 1st, as well as on all three of its new Nagoya/Chubu Centrair (NGO/RJGG) - Fukuoka flights to be launched on March 30th. Star Flyer is owned 17.26% by ANA Holdings.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

ANA loads final Boeing 747 revenue flights.

All Nippon Airways (NH/ANA) has announced the schedule of their last Boeing 747-400D revenue flights. It will make its one last appearance at Fukuoka (FUK/RJFF) and Sapporo/New Chitose (CTS/RJCC) on March 30th, and the final revenue flight will take place on March 31st on the Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT) - Okinawa/Naha (OKA/ROAH) route.
Boeing 747-481/D JA8966 at Haneda. It was retired in January 2014. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

March 30th, 2014
Haneda - Fukuoka 1 round-trip.
NH243 HND 0830 - 1020 FUK 74J
NH250 FUK 1110 - 1250 HND 74J

Haneda - New Chitose 1 round-trip.
NH069 HND 1500 - 1630 CTS 74J
NH074 CTS 1730 - 1905 HND 74J

March 31st, 2014
Haneda - Naha 1 round-trip.
NH127 HND 0840 - 1115 OKA 74J
NH126 OKA 1235 - 1500 HND 74J *Final ANA B747 revenue flight.

These flights will be operated by B747-481/D JA8961, which will be the last aircraft. The other, JA8960, is expected to be withdrawn from service in mid-March. With the 'D' standing for domestic, the B747-400D is a short-range high-capacity version of the B747-400 developed specifically for the Japanese market. March 31st will put an end to over 35 years of Boeing 747 operations with ANA. The 'Queen of the Skies' was first introduced in Japan by Japan Airlines (JL/JAL) in 1970. The final countdown has begun...

Source: All Nippon Airways (in Japanese)

Air Do Boeing 767 suffers ground accident.

Early in the morning of January 20th, around 0245 local time, AIRDO's (HD/ADO) (d.b.a. Air Do) Boeing 767-381 JA601A was involved in an accident on the tarmac at Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT) when a ground-handling vehicle came in contact with the aircraft. According to the airline, the B767 suffered a 60 x 60 cm hole plus some cracks on the lower part of the aft fuselage.

Due to the accident, Air Do has canceled around four to eight flights a day since that date. Passengers with tickets are being reassigned to other flights, as well as Air Do's own extra flights. The Hokkaido-based carrier originally announced it would take at least 10 days to repair, but now it seems they aren't sure how long it will take. Air Do's fleet currently consists of two B767-300ERs, two B767-300s (including JA601A), four B737-700s, and six B737-500s.

Source: Air Do (PDF; in Japanese)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

JAL announces Summer 2014 international plans.

Japan Airlines (JL/JAL) announced its international operation changes for Summer 2014 (effective March 30th), including the expansion of Tokyo/Haneda's (HND/RJTT) international network for daytime hours (0600 - 2300). The carrier was awarded five daytime slots.
Boeing 777-246/ER JA701J departing Haneda for San Francisco as JL2. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

New Routes/Resumptions: 
Haneda - Ho Chi Minh City/Tan Son Nhat (SGN/VVTS) new 1 daily with 76W/763.
JL079 HND 0125 - 0515 SGN 76W/763 Daily
JL070 SGN 1355 - 2200 HND 76W/763 Daily


Haneda - London/Heathrow (LHR/EGLL) new 1 daily with 77W.
JL043 HND 1120 - 1550 LHR 77W Daily
JL044 LHR 1915 - 1500(+1) HND 77W Daily 
*Service operates as JL401/402 on March 30 - 31.

Frequency Increases:
Haneda - Bangkok/Suvarnabhumi (BKK/VTBS) from 1 to 2 daily with 772/76W/763.
JL033 HND 0040 - 0500 BKK 772/76W/763 Daily
JL031 HND 1130 - 1540 BKK 772/76W/763 Daily *NEW
JL032 BKK 0945 - 1755 HND 772/76W/763 Daily *NEW
JL034 BKK 2200 - 0610 HND 772/76W/763 Daily

Haneda - Singapore/Changi (SIN/WSSS) from 1 to 2 daily with 772/76W/763.
JL035 HND 0005 - 0605 SIN 772/76E/763 Daily
JL037 HND 1120 - 1720 SIN 772/76W/763 Daily *NEW
JL038 SIN 0150 - 0950 HND 772/76W/763 Daily *NEW
JL036 SIN 2150 - 0550 HND 772/76W/763 Daily

Tokyo/Narita (NRT/RJAA) - Moscow/Domodedovo (DME/UUDD) from 3 to 4 weekly with 788.

Narita - New York/John F. Kennedy (JFK/KJFK) from 1 to 2 daily with 77W/788.
JL006 NRT 1110 - 1205 JFK 77W Daily
JL004 NRT 1830 - 1825 JFK 788 Daily *NEW
JL003 JFK 0930 - 1240(+1) NRT 788 Daily *NEW
JL005 JFK 1315 - 1625(+1) NRT 77W Daily

Schedule Changes:
Haneda - Paris/Charles de Gaulle (CDG/LFPG) night-time moves to daytime.
JL045 HND 1035 - 1610 CDG 77W Daily
JL046 CDG 2100 - 1555(+1) HND 77W Daily

Frequency Reductions:
Narita - Suvarnabhumi from 2 to 1 daily with 76W/763.
Narita - Changi from 2 to 1 daily with 76W/763.

Narita - Heathrow.

JAL's Heathrow service from Narita is shifted to Haneda, due to slot restrictions at Heathrow. Charles de Gaulle will receive a flight from both Tokyo airports; Haneda with the Boeing 777-300ER and Narita with the Boeing 787-8. Suvarnabhumi and Changi will see one of their Narita round-trips shifted to Haneda. Tan Son Nhat will be a new destination from Haneda.

JAL will accelerate refurbishing its B777-300ERs and B767-300ERs with the Sky Suite product (JAL adding more Sky Suite destinations.), with plans to have 22 completed by July. By the end of 2014, it plans to offer either full-flat seats or shell-flat seats for business class on all medium and long-haul Asian routes plus Hawaii. Meanwhile, JAL will carry out international charter flights to the U.K. from Osaka/Kansai (KIX/RJBB) this summer in part to celebrate the airport's 20th anniversary, and has stated that re-starting long-haul routes from Kansai and Nagoya/Chubu Centrair (NGO/RJGG) are seriously being considered from 2015. These flights will most likely be operated by B787s.

Source: Japan Airlines (in Japanese)

JCAB grants Airbus A330 Certificate of Airworthiness.

On January 22nd, the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) issued a Certificate of Airworthiness (CofA) for the Airbus A330-300. The European plane-maker applied for the certificate on August 24th last year.
Skymark's Airbus A330-343E JA330A at Toulouse. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

Due to delays in securing the type's license, delivery of Skymark Airlines' (BC/SKY) first A330-343, registered JA330A, will be postponed to late February. The 271-seat all-premium jet was planned to enter service at the end of March on the Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT) - Fukuoka (FUK/RJFF) route, however, with this delay, service entry may be put off to April. Skymark is expecting a two-month training period.

Source: Aviation Wire (in Japanese)

Friday, January 24, 2014

ANA releases Summer 2014 domestic schedule.

On January 22nd, All Nippon Airways (NH/ANA) announced their Summer 2014 plan for domestic flights, effective March 30th. They will be resuming Aomori (AOJ/RJSA) on July 1st after a 11-year hiatus.
Boeing 777-381 JA753A departing Haneda on another domestic trunk flight. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

New Routes/Resumptions:
Osaka/Itami (ITM/RJOO) - Aomori new 3 daily with DH4 from July 1.
NH(EH)1851 ITM 0815 - 1000 AOJ DH4 Daily *From July 1. Operated by AKX.
NH(EH)1853 ITM 1155 - 1340 AOJ DH4 Daily *From July 1. Operated by AKX.
NH(EH)1855 ITM 1910 - 2055 AOJ DH4 Daily *From July 1. Operated by AKX.
NH(EH)1852 AOJ 0805 - 1000 ITM DH4 Daily *From July 1. Operated by AKX.
NH(EH)1854 AOJ 1310 - 1505 ITM DH4 Daily *From July 1. Operated by AKX.
NH(EH)1856 AOJ 1740 - 1935 ITM DH4 Daily *From July 1. Operated by AKX.

 Sapporo/New Chitose (CTS/RJCC) - Aomori new 2 daily with DH4 from July 1.
NH(EH)1898 CTS 1150 - 1240 AOJ DH4 Daily *From July 1. Operated by AKX.
NH(EH)1900 CTS 1615 - 1705 AOJ DH4 Daily *From July 1. Operated by AKX.
NH(EH)1897 AOJ 1030 - 1120 CTS DH4 Daily *From July 1. Operated by AKX.
NH(EH)1899 AOJ 1510 - 1600 CTS  DH4 Daily *From July 1. Operated by AKX.

Frequency Increases:
Fukuoka (FUK/RJFF) - Ishigaki (ISG/ROIG) from seasonal service to 1 daily.
Fukuoka - Sendai (SDJ/RJSS) from 1 to 2 daily. *Including code-share with IBX.
Itami - Fukushima (FKS/RJSF) from 1 to 2 daily. *Including code-share with IBX.
Itami - Miyazaki (KMI/RJFM) from 5 to 6 daily. *Including code-share with IBX.
Itami - New Chitose from 1 to 3 daily. *4 daily September 1 - October 25. Including code-share with IBX.
Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT) - Hakodate (HKD/RJCH)from 2 to 3 daily.
Haneda - Iwami (IWJ/RJOW) from 1 to 2 daily.
Haneda - Tottori (TTJ/RJOR) from 4 to 5 daily.

Frequency Reductions:
Fukuoka - Komatsu (KMQ/RJNK) from 4 to 3 daily. *Including code-share with IBX.
Nagoya/Chubu Centrair (NGO/RJGG) - Sendai from 5 to 4 daily. *Including code-share with IBX.
Chubu Centrair - Fukuoka from 9 to 6 daily. *Including code-share with IBX. 
Itami - Fukuoka from 10 to 8 daily. *Up to 7 daily from July 1.
Itami - Niigata (KIJ/RJSN) from 6 to 5 daily. *From July 1. Including code-share with IBX.
Itami - Oita (OIT/RJFO) from 4 to 3 daily. *Including code-share with IBX.
Itami - Sendai from 8 to 7 daily. *Up to 6 daily from July 1. Including code-share with IBX.
Osaka/Kansai (KIX/RJBB) - New Chitose from 5 to 3 daily.
Haneda - Yonago (YGJ/RJOH) from 6 to 5 daily. *For only June 1 - September 30.
New Chitose - Sendai from 5 to 4 daily. *Including code-share with IBX.

Haneda - Miyakejima (MYE/RJTQ). *From April 1.
Tokyo/Narita (NRT/RJAA) - Hiroshima (HIJ/RJOA).

Not much new except for the resumption of Aomori service from July 1. Routes and frequencies are being swapped with IBEX Airlines (FW/IBX), which operates like a feeder carrier for ANA. The Miyakejima service is being transferred to New Central Airservice (CUK), allowing ANA Wings (EH/AKX) to retire its last remaining Bombardier DHC-8-300Q.

Source: All Nippon Airways (in Japanese)

JAL to resume six domestic routes for Summer 2014.

During the Summer 2014 schedule (effective March 30th), Japan Airlines (JL/JAL) will be resuming six domestic routes from August. Most of these were suspended when JAL was restructuring during 2009 - 2010.
Boeing 767-346/ER JA656J 'Doraemon Jet' at Haneda in January 2013. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

New Routes/Resumptions:
Nagoya/Chubu Centrair (NGO/RJGG) - Kushiro (KUH/RJCK) new 3 weekly with 73H. *August 1 - 31.
Chubu Centrair - Obihiro (OBO/RJCB) new 4 weekly with 73H. *August 1 - 31.
Osaka/Itami (ITM/RJOO) - Matsumoto (MMJ/RJAF) new 1 daily with E70. *August 1 - 31.
Itami - Memanbetsu (MMB/RJCM) new 1 daily with E70. *August 1 - 31.
Sapporo/New Chitose (CTS/RJCC) - Izumo (IZO/RJOC) new 4 weekly with 73H. *August 1 - 31.
New Chitose - Tokushima (TKS/RJOS) new 3 weekly with 73H. *August 1 - 31.

Frequency Increases:
Fukuoka (FUK/RJFF) - Amami (ASJ/RJKA) from 1 to 2 daily.
Fukuoka - Izumo from 2 to 3 daily.
Fukuoka - Kochi (KCZ/RJOK) from 3 to 4 daily.
Itami - Nagasaki (NGS/RJFU) from 3 to 4 daily. 
Itami - Okinawa/Naha (OKA/ROAH) from 1 to 2 daily. *3 daily April 29 - May 31.
New Chitose - Memanbetsu from 3 to 4 daily.
Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT) - Chubu Centrair from 1 to 2 daily.
Haneda - Ishigaki (ISG/ROIG) from 1 to 2 daily. *July 18 - August 31.
Haneda - Kitakyushu (KKJ/RJFR) from 5 to 6 daily. 
Haneda - Okayama (OKJ/RJOB) from 5 to 6 daily.
Haneda - Naha from 12 to 14 daily.
Haneda - Osaka/Kansai (KIX/RJBB) from 2 to 3 daily.
Haneda - Takamatsu (TAK/RJOT) from 6 to 7 daily.
Haneda - Tokushima from 6 to 7 daily.
Haneda - Yamagata (GAJ/RJSC) from 1 to 2 daily.

Frequency Reductions:
Fukuoka - Matsuyama (MYJ/RJOM) from 8 to 6 daily.
Itami - Izumo from 6 to 5 daily.
Itami - Miyazaki (KMI/RJFM) from 6 to 5 daily.
Haneda - Izumo from 6 to 5 daily.
Haneda - New Chitose from 17 to 16 daily.
Tokyo/Narita (NRT/RJAA) - Fukuoka from 3 to 1 daily.
Narita - Chubu Centrair from 3 to 2 daily. 
Narita - New Chitose from 3 to 1 daily.

Yamagata will receive its long-awaited second daily service from Haneda, to be operated by J-Air (XM/JLJ). Notable changes include the suspension of many Narita domestic flights, which mostly feed its international operations. Jetstar Japan (GK/JJP), which is partly owned by JAL, has largely expanded its domestic network from Narita, and JAL is using code-sharing on their flights for international connections.

Source: Japan Airlines (in Japanese)