Sunday, June 1, 2014

JTA finalizes order for 12 Boeing 737-800s.

On May 30th, Japan Transocean Air (NU/JTA) finalized an agreement with Boeing to acquire a dozen Boeing 737-800s to renew its fleet of 'Classic' 737-400s, with deliveries starting in January 2016. It was originally announced as a commitment on May 27th (Japan Transocean Air decides on Boeing 737-800s.).
Boeing 737-43Q JA8525 arrives at Naha after another island-connecting flight. Delivered in 1995, this aircraft seats 150 in an all-economy configuration and is deployed primarily on intra-Okinawan flights. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

Their new 737-800s will have the latest PIPs (Performance Improvement Packages) incorporated, delivering a 2% improvement in fuel efficiency, and will also boast Boeing's Sky Interior, with modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals, LED lighting that enhances the sense of spaciousness and larger pivoting overhead stowage bins. JTA is planning to configure these aircraft with 165 seats, comprising 20 Class J (JAL Group's domestic business class) and 145 economy seats, standardizing with 70%-owner Japan Airlines' (JL/JAL) domestic 737-800s.
Boeing 737-43Q JA8526 is seen taking off from Tottori on a charter flight to Miyako. Delivered in 1997, it was their last Arc of the Sun livery aircraft with JTA titles and was de-registered on May 28th, 2014, reducing the fleet to a dozen. (Photo: Tottori Airport)

The Okinawa/Naha (OKA/ROAH)-based airline has the option to convert to the upcoming 737 MAX from their seventh aircraft onwards, and JTA has said it would consider if the economics of the 737 MAX outweigh the commonality advantages of sticking with just the 737-800. JTA currently operates an all-737 fleet of 12 737-400s, which seat either 145 (20 Class J and 125 economy) or 150 (all economy).

Although the 737-800 is a 13% capacity growth over the 737-400 it is replacing, JTA acquired it because they don't have too much of a choice. And 12 means a one-to-one replacement, translating to no significant network expansion planned for at least the foreseeable future. In the past, JTA has experimented with regional international charters connecting Okinawa with Hong Kong and Taiwan, however, with Peach Aviation (MM/APJ) opening up a base in Naha in July (Peach announces Naha - Fukuoka.) and Taiwanese and Chinese carriers, which are generally lower-cost than Japan's full service carriers, cementing their presence, they will likely remain a domestic airline.

Source: Boeing, May 30th. (in English)

*Post edited/updated on June 8th.

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