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Monday, February 13, 2012

Nikkei: New 787 and 737 orders and new routes to San Diego and Helsinki coming soon

Nikkei has revealed more details on Japan Airlines' (JAL) upcoming medium term business plan announcement. According to Nikkei, JAL will reveal the details of their plan on Feb 15 2012, which is tomorrow in JST. Part of the more interesting details Nikkei reveals today is the new order of 787 and 737 planes and launch of new routes to San Diego (SAN) and Helsinki (HEL). Below are the outline of the plan.

- 500 billion yen investments on equipments in the next 5 years
- Order 10 more 787s 
- Order 737s
- Launch new routes to San Diego (SAN) and Helainki (HEL)
- 50 billion yen operating costs reduction 
- Achieve more than 10% operation margin in 5 consecutive years
- Boost capital adequacy ratio at least 50% 
- 140 billion yen operation profit in fiscal year 2013

JAL plans to use the state-of-art 787 to replace their old planes (767s?) and by doing so can reduce their operating costs. Currently JAL has around 210 aircraft in its fleet and they plan to grow the fleet to 220 aircraft by the end of (fiscal?) year 2016. So judging by the numbers, we can see quite a bit of aircraft retirements when JAL receives newer planes. 

Currently JAL has 35 787-8s and 5 787-800s on order. With the addition of the rumored order of 10 787s and unspecified amount of 737s, JAL's order book will grow to at least 50 planes. And to add fuel to this rumor, Boeing has booked 10 orders of 787s from unidentified customer(s) in 2012. Currently there's a Singapore Airshow going on right now. Does that sound like a perfect time to announce such order? :P

Although the report only mention new routes to SAN and HEL with 787 without mentioning Narita, it would be save to assume that's from Tokyo Narita instead of Tokyo Haneda or other Japanese airports, at least for the flight to SAN. There's a possibility that the HEL flight will be from HND instead but it will have the night time slot restrictions which aren't the most favorable thing among some travelers. 

While it makes sense to launch new flights to HEL as it is the hub for oneworld alliance member Finnair (AY), I am a bit surprise with the new SAN route. I wonder if there are that many strong demand for direct flight from SAN. Maybe they launch SAN because ANA plans to launch San Jose route? :P But I am open to fly LAX-SAN-NRT instead of direct LAX-NRT just to try out the 787 and more importantly earn more FLY ON Points and miles! :D

I guess we will find out more about this rumor by tomorrow. Nikkei does have a good record of getting the rumor right but they did get the Delta rumor wrong though ;)

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