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Friday, December 16, 2011

JAL to introduce User-Preferred-Routes to Vancouver flights

Japan Airlines (JAL) will be introducing User-Preferred-Routes (UPR) on its Tokyo Narita (NRT) - Vancouver (YVR) route from December 19 2011. NRT-YVR will be the third destination country in JAL networks to take advantage of UPR after Japan - Honolulu and Tokyo Narita - Australia switching to UPR in August 2008 and June 2009 respectively. JAL estimates that this can save them a total of 220,000 lbs of fuel and therefore reducing approximately 315 tons of carbon dioxide gas emission a year
UPR stands for User Preferred Route, which means each flight is free to choose its own route to fly to the destination instead of using the fixed routes set by the air traffic controllers (ATC). Flying through the correct weather system can actually improve the fuel efficiency. For example, it is more efficient for an east-bound flight to fly through the North of a low pressure system in the Northern Hemisphere. The problem with the current fixed route system is that the flight path is determined long before departure and by the time the flight departs, the weather most likely has changed. Also, the route does not take into account of the aircraft being used nor flight load. By using UPR, the airlines can determine the optimal flight path based on the most current weather conditions, and other factors which will probably result in a more optimal path. At the end, this saves the airlines money (ok...and helps the environment too). So I guess this is a win-win situation.

But one thing to note is that JAL introduced UPR to Narita - Kona and Narita - Brisbane before which both have been suspended. So I wonder if they are picking the low yield routes to switch to UPR as their last resort to save them? I hope YVR won't follow the paths of Kona and Brisbane LOL. Just to make the Canadian visitors feel better, TYO-HNL, KIX-HNL, NGO-HNL and NRT-SYD which had switched to UPR still exist today :p

For more details, you can refer to JAL Press Release (Japanese, English)

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