On May 14th, Japan Airlines announced its international flight frequency plans for the next month. According to the press release, the airline will reduce approximately 96% of its international services until the end of June. While the number of passenger flights will be minimal, Japan Airlines will continue to operate cargo-flights on select sectors to help the business keep moving.
Japan Airlines had earlier in the month said that its annual profit had plunged nearly 65% as the airline faced an unprecedented situation due to the spread of coronavirus. The massive decline in travel demand and worldwide travel restrictions have forced the airline to operate only certain routes. Japan Airlines has also cut its domestic network by 60%.
Lesser long haul routes, more focus on Asia
In the last few days, the demand in East Asia has slowly but gradually recovered. South Korea, China, and Japan have done relatively well in controlling the spread of coronavirus, and life is starting to look a bit normal. However, the demand for non-essential and tourism-related travel is unlikely to come back for the next few years.
Japan has a massive presence in Asia pertaining to its dominance in the tech industry. To help the business keep moving, Japan Airlines is committed to offering flights to places of economic interest. As a result, the focus will be first on nearby countries and then on expanding further. The airline will fly very few flights to long-haul destinations in Europe and North America.
According to a Japan Airlines press release, from June 1st – June 30th, the following routes will operate:
- Americas: Chicago, Vancouver and Los Angeles (in total, 25 one-way flights)
- Europe: Only London (26 one-way flights)
- Southeast Asia: Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, and Manila (in total, 48 one-way flights)
- Oceania (Sydney and Melbourne): Suspended
- East Asia: Dalian, Hong Kong, Taipei, and Kaohsiung (in total 68 one-way flights)
- Hawaii / Guam: Suspended
Launch of following Tokyo services has been postponed:
- Narita – San Francisco
- Narita – Bengaluru
- Haneda – Shanghai Pudong
- Haneda – Dalian
What about cargo services?
Japan Airlines has also been flying a variety of cargo-only routes since March. Many of its B787s and B777s have been changed to accommodate additional storage capacity. Between the start of March and mid-April, the airline flew 329 cargo-only flights. A further 878 of such trips will be in service until the end of May.
Although the airline hasn’t yet outlined its cargo destinations, the focus will majorly be on Chinese cities like Shanghai to help facilitate the movement of essential medical supplies.
2020 was supposed to be one of the most important years in the history of Japan. The Summer Olympics in Tokyo was expected to attract more than 40 million visitors from across the globe. Although the Olympics has been delayed, it will be doubtful that there will be a similar demand next year.
On the brighter side, Japan has until now done a great job in curbing the spread of the pandemic. The role of Japanese carriers like Japan Airlines will soon be imperative to the economic recovery and prosperity of the country.
Should Japan Airlines operate more flights? Let us know in the comments.