Thursday, April 24, 2014

Peach to cancel up to 2,088 flights this summer.

On April 24th, Peach Aviation (MM/APJ) announced at a press conference held at Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) that they are considering canceling up to 2,088 flights from May 19th through October 25th due to pilot shortage.
Airbus A320-214 JA806P taxies for departure at Seoul's Incheon. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

The Osaka/Kansai (KIX/RJBB)-based LCC currently employs 108 cockpit crews, consisting of 52 Captains and 56 First Officers (Copilot), however, eight Captains are absent from work due to health-related issues, and the company's target to recruit 10 additional Captains from outside is not going as planned. Peach denied any reports that in-house training of First Officers to become Captains is failing as well as rumors of flight attendants and maintenance crew shortages.

As a result, they have already decided to cancel 448 flights from May 19th to June 30th, covering flights from Kansai to Fukuoka (FUK/RJFF), Hong Kong (HKG/VHHH), Kagoshima (KOJ/RJFK), Matsuyama (MYJ/RJOM), Okinawa/Naha (OKA/ROAH), Sapporo/New Chitose (CTS/RJCC), Sendai (SDJ/RJSS), and Seoul/Incheon (ICN/RKSI), offering full refunds as well as re-booking on other Peach-operated flights. It is estimated that 3 billion JPY of revenue would be lost. Final decisions on flights after that date will be announced on April 30th. 2,088 flights equates to 16% of their planned schedule, affecting over 26,000 passengers.

Peach CEO Shinichi Inoue told media "From now on, we will leave more room (for target misses) in recruitment and network plans, so that this never happens again." However, he reiterated that the fledgling LCC is on-track to launch its second hub at Naha on July 19th (Peach announces Naha - Fukuoka.) and its first full year profit is still expected for FY2013, which ended last month, and another year of profit for FY2014 could be reached by increasing aircraft utilization for Winter 2014/2015. Peach currently operates a dozen Airbus A320s, with another to arrive in June, and two more before March 2015.

Crew shortages for Airbus A320s; first Jetstar Japan (GK/JJP) with maintenance crews and now Peach with pilots. In historically Boeing-dominated Japan, recruiting and training staff certified for Airbuses is not catching up with demand. Opting for Boeing 737s for that reason, are executives of Spring Airlines Japan (IJ/SJO) (Spring Airlines Japan to launch services on June 27th.) smiling?

Source: Nikkei Shimbun, April 24th. (in Japanese)
Source: Asahi Shimbun, April 24th. (in Japanese)
Source: Aviation Wire, April 24th. (in Japanese)

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