Sunday, April 20, 2014

JAL hopes to resume Sao Paulo with Boeing 787s.

Japan Airlines' (JL/JAL) Chairman Masaru Onishi revealed that the airline is willing to resume service from Tokyo/Narita (NRT/RJAA) to Sao Paulo/Guarulhos (GRU/SBGR) if there is sufficient demand, in an interview held during his trip to the Brazilian capital at the end of March.
Boeing 787-8 JA821J arrives at Haneda in the late hours. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

"We strongly want to make it fly," he said in a recent interview with Kyodo News in Sao Paulo, referring to the route, which was terminated in September 2010 under JAL's restructuring during the company's bankruptcy. JAL had operated the link via New York/John F. Kennedy (JFK/KJFK) two to three times per week for over 32 years, using the Boeing 747 in its later years. JAL's Sao Paulo branch was also subsequently closed.

Amid high hopes of Brazil's economic growth further boosted by the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup (football/soccer) and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics/Paralympics, Japanese automakers including Honda have built new plants in South America's biggest country, and many requests have been made by Brazil's Japanese community to resume the route. Mr. Onishi told that if JAL were to re-launch the route, the flight will likely go via New York utilizing their medium-capacity fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliners. The Narita - JFK route went double-daily from March 30th.

To check on potential demand, JAL plans to sell some seats on TAM Airlines' (JJ/TAM) flights between New York and Sao Paulo by implementing code-shares with the Oneworld partner, which only joined the alliance on March 30th. "With the code-sharing, we will be able to know the Brazilian market better. Then we will decide whether to operate our own flights," Mr. Onishi added.

Mr. Onishi also said that Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW/KDFW) is one of the main candidate destinations from Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT). Nine daily daytime international slots remain unallocated at Tokyo's slot-restricted downtown airport, and all of these are said to be for flights to the U.S.A. Negotiations between the two respective authorities regarding which side gets how many slots have yet to bear fruit, but are hoped to reach an agreement in time for the Winter 2014 timetable effective October 26th.

Source: Nikkey Shimbun, April 2nd. (in Japanese)

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