Thursday, April 3, 2014

Skymark expands Yonago, axes Asahikawa and Kumamoto.

On April 1st, Skymark Airlines (BC/SKY) expanded their Yonago (YGJ/RJOH) focus city with the launch of double-daily Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT) flights plus a daily round-trip each to Okinawa/Naha (OKA/ROAH) and Sapporo/New Chitose (CTS/RJCC). Two daily round-trips between Kobe (UKB/RJBE) and Sendai (SDJ/RJSS) were also started on the same day. Schedules were posted (Skymark announces Yonago and Sendai expansion.) in an earlier update. All are operated by 177-seat Boeing 737-800s.
Boeing 737-8FZ(WL) JA73ND taxies for departure at rainy Haneda. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

Skymark now offers non-stop services to five cities from Yonago, a city the airline only started serving on December 20th, 2013. Competitor All Nippon Airways (NH/ANA) flies six round-trips between Haneda and Yonago, while just 33 kilometers (20 miles) west at Izumo (IZO/RJOC), Japan Airlines (JL/JAL) operates five dailies to Haneda, along with five round-trips to Osaka/Itami (ITM/RJOO), three to Fukuoka (FUK/RJFF), and one to Oki (OKI/RJNO) flown by JAL subsidiary Japan Air Commuter (3X/JAC). Skymark saw a decently-sized market served only by legacy carriers with no near-term LCC penetration.
Skymark's short-skirt flight attendants on board their new Airbus A330. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

On the inaugural day, to the surprise of all, all flight attendants and some ground staff serving these four new routes, along with Okinawa/Naha (OKA/ROAH) - Ishigaki (ISG/ROIG), wore Skymark's controversial miniskirt one-piece uniform, which are to be introduced on the company's new Airbus A330s in May. It was only for this one day on April 1st, and was a play not only to promote the limited-time uniforms, but to probably convince the public that it is not a safety risk to passengers nor the flight attendants (Miniskirt turbulence at Skymark Airlines?).

Meanwhile on March 31st, Skymark operated their last flights to and from Asahikawa (AKJ/RJEC) and Kumamoto (KMJ/RJFT), with BC606 and BC208, services to Haneda, respectively. As a lower-cost carrier, Skymark's decision is quick, both when launching and abandoning new routes.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun, April 1st. (in Japanese)

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