Friday, March 20, 2015

JAL resumes Kansai – Los Angeles.

On March 20th, Japan Airlines [JL/JAL] inaugurated daily Osaka/Kansai [KIX/RJBB] – Los Angeles [LAX/KLAX] service using 186-seat (42 business and 144 economy) Boeing 787-8s, resuming the route after an eight-year hiatus (JAL reveals Winter 2014/2015 international plans.). The inaugural outbound flight JL060 departed Kansai at 1520, carrying 184 passengers (including one child), eight flight attendants, and three pilots. Passengers received a handkerchief, candies, message cards, and a flight certificate.

JAL staff see off their inaugural flight from Kansai to Los Angeles. Boeing 787-8 JA823J was assigned. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

"We used Jumbo Jets on the route until 2006, when high fuel prices forced us to suspend it. We had received strong voices from the local business community to resume the route, and now we are in a position to do that. It's another new step forward for JAL. We hope to contribute to the Kansai region's (Greater Osaka) economy," said Yoshiharu Ueki, President of JAL, who was also on board the flight. "The number of tourists to Japan is increasing, and we also hope to tap into that market from Los Angeles, along with the market for business travel," Mr. Ueki added.

Flight Schedule:
Kansai – Los Angeles NEW 1 daily with 787-8.
JL060 KIX 1520 – 0920 LAX 788 Daily *Mar/20 - 28.
JL060 KIX 1730 – 1150 LAX 788 Daily *Mar/29 - Jun/30, Oct/1 - 24.
JL060 KIX 1730 – 1220 LAX 788 Daily *Jul/1 - Sep/30.
JL069 LAX 1120 – 1550(+1) KIX 788 Daily *Mar/20-28.
JL069 LAX 1350 – 1820(+1) KIX 788 Daily *Mar/29 - Jun/30, Oct/1 - 24. 
JL069 LAX 1410 – 1820(+1) KIX 788 Daily *Jul/1 - Sep/30.

JAL formerly operated 747-400s on the route from September 1994, when Greater Osaka's new international gateway on the artificial island opened, to September 2006. 448-seat-configured machines were deployed in the final days. Taiwan's EVA Airways [BR/EVA] also flew the route until October 2009. Los Angeles is home to the world's largest Japanese population outside Japan, and the new round-trip complements JAL's existing daily flight from Tokyo/Narita [NRT/RJAA]. Passengers will also be able to make onward connections beyond Los Angeles on joint-venture (JV) and Oneworld partner American Airlines [AA/AAL] to 37 destinations in the U.S.A.

Keiichi Ando, President of New Kansai International Airport Company (NKIAC), which operates both airports at Kansai and Osaka/Itami [ITM/RJOO], said "After Los Angeles, we want to push for London (JAL to resume Kansai to London and Los Angeles in 2015.). But Los Angeles needs to become successful for that to happen," adding "We will support the route in any way possible, including providing landing fee discounts and promoting the service to local businesses." Meanwhile, Mr. Ueki replied "We understand there is a call for London, but we must prepare well for that," adding "Compared to Los Angeles, the London market is smaller. If we are sure we can make both ends meet, we will consider it."

Japan's flag carrier flew the Kansai – London/Heathrow [LHR/EGLL] route until March 2009. The new Los Angeles service adds to JAL's modest international network from Kansai that includes Bangkok/Suvarnabhumi [BKK/VTBS], Honolulu [HNL/PHNL], Seoul/Gimpo [GMP/RKSS] (to be suspended from March 29th), Shanghai/Pudong [PVG/ZSPD], and Taipei/Taoyuan [TPE/RCTP].

Source: Aviation Wire, March 20th. (in Japanese)
Source: FlightLiner, March 20th. (in Japanese)

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