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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

2010 JAL Golden Week traffic forecast

Japan Airlines (JAL) finally released the 2010 Golden Week (GW) traffic forecast (something I have been waiting for a while). In case you haven't heard of GW before, Japan has a 4 different national holidays from end of April till beginning of May every year, combining with weekend and that's the GW. This year there are 8 days of holiday from April 28 to May 5 (Geeze, I want to move to Japan just because of that LOL). So how is JAL doing during this one of the busiest travel periods in Japan? In a nutshell, JAL domestic flights are doing GREAT while international ones are doing okay too.

International

JAL currently has 244,387 passenger bookings, a 14.5% decrease from last year. However, there is a 21.5% decrease in capacity thanks to all the route suspensions and capacity reductions. The flights are expected to be pretty full. Below are the flight load forecast

Date / Japan Departure Load / Japan Arrival Load
April 28: 96.4% / 70.1%
April 29: 98.5% / 72.5%
April 30: 95.6% / 75.7%
May 1: 95.2% / 79.8%
May 2: 89.1% / 77.3%
May 3: 71.2% / 88.3%
May 4: 65.0% / 93.8%
May 5: 64.6% / 96.4%

As you can see, the flights are pretty full at the peak periods. For flights with load at the 90's, that means people are paying for business class tickets! Definitely a good sign :) The overall load factor this year is 89.9%, a 6.7% increase from last year.

If you look at the passenger counts, Taiwan and Oceania have a slight increase. If you break down the numbers by region, it's not that hard to see which region is not performing well. Oceania flights has a relatively low flight load at 68.8%, the rest of the regions are at 80's with the exception of China which has a load factor of 77.2%. Come on Australian flyers, isn't JAL your 2nd favorite airline when you fly to Europe?

JAL will operate 6 additional flights to Honolulu (4) and Palau (2), down from last year's 14 flights. For charter flights, JAL will operate a total of 22 flights to Honolulu (6), Palau (6), Bali (4), Cairns (2), Sanya China (2), and Cebu Philippines (2), down from last year's 37.

Domestic

JAL currently has 911,090 passenger bookings for its domestic flights during the GW, that's an 18.1% INCREASE from last year. That's a signification y.o.y increase! Seat load factor is expected to be 66.8%, up 12.6% from last year. This year JAL will operate 66 additional flights to meet the demand to destinations like Okinawa and Sappporo. Below are the break down of flight loads for JAL and JEX (The Japanese Press Release also has a breakdown by regions)

Date / South-bound Load / North-bound Load
April 28: 65.3% / 48.0%
April 29: 84.7% / 45.3%
April 30: 74.1% / 46.2%
May 1: 91.6% / 68.3%
May 2: 73.8% / 67.8%
May 3: 51.3% / 72.1%
May 4: 53.6% / 84.3%
May 5: 62.5% / 90.7%

These are indeed encouraging news from JAL, especially the big jump in domestic bookings and the return of leisure travelers in business class. Hopefully May will be another profitable month for JAL :)

Source: JAL press release (Japanese, English)

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