Japan Airlines Announces First Domestic Airbus A350 Route

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Japan Airlines has announced that they will be using a new Airbus A350-900 on a domestic route in Japan, between the cities of Haneda and Fukuoka.

Not only will this be the first A350-900 in operation in Japan (and for Japan Airlines) but it is also the first time the large new plane has been used in an exclusive domestic capacity.

What are the details?

Whilst Japan Airlines is not expected to receive the new plane until June, but they have already put in plans to replace the existing 777-200 on the route.

The route between the two cities will only take around an hour and a half.

Compared to the existing plane, the A350 will be cheaper to run, sits around an extra 25 passengers and has a an extra 5,000km range. These improvements are simply because of the new technologies that are available compared to the older Boeing 777-200.

The business class seat on the 777-200. They even have a photo of a business man so we don’t get confused! Source: Japanese Airlines

Japan Airlines plans to replace its 777-200 fleet with 14 A350-900s over the next four years. From 2021, Japan Airlines will also be receiving Airbus A350-1000’s (The larger variant of the aircraft) to replace various parts of their widebody fleet (Such as their four Boeing 777-300s).

Japan Airlines
A Japan Airlines 787 from above. Source: Laird Kay

The route change over is expected to take place in September, 2019.

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What will the service be like?

So far Japan Airlines has not revealed any details about the onboard service, but we might be able to hazard a guess from their current market offering.

On their current domestic aircraft, they have First Class, Executive Class (A cross between business class and premium economy) and Economy Class. It is likely that they will have around 315 seats on board.

The current first-class seat onboard Japan Airlines 777-200. Source: Japan Airlines

They might also seize the chance to upgrade their domestic offering to stay competitive with their fierce rival ANA. By including some of the new seats that they have for their international Dreamliner fleet, Japan Airlines could present a very attractive new concept for business travelers. Whilst it would be rather pointless for lie-flat seats in Japan (As most of the flights are relatively short) many of the other comforts (such as privacy) could be made available.

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Japan Airlines
Japan Airlines first class onboard their Dreamliner aircraft. Notice the expanded room and privacy. Source: Japan Airlines

What they end up doing on board is anyone’s guess, but likely we will know very soon.

What do you think of Japan Airlines using the A350-900 on a domestic route? Let us know in the comments. 

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