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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

JAL President talks about Asia expansion

According to Japan Times, Japan Airlines (JAL) President Yoshiharu Ueki was visiting India on Monday. During the visit, he has reveals some information on JAL's current Asia expansion plans including a few of possible new routes. According to Ueki, JAL is looking into expanding flights to emerging countries to meet the robust demand in the Asia-Pacific region.

As part of the mid-term management plan announced back in February, JAL is looking to expand their international capacity by 25% between fiscal year 2012 and 2016. The state-of-art 787s play a crucial role in this expansion. Parts of the expansion include the already announced new routes to Boston that launched on April 22 2012, San Diego from December 2 2012, and Helsinki from February 25 2013, and increase in frequencies to Singapore and New Delhi. On Monday, Ueki revealed a new list of possible new destinations.
He said JAL will explore opening new services to other parts of Asia, including Myanmar, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

While New Delhi is the only Indian city connected with a direct JAL flight to Japan, Ueki said the airline plans to expand services to Chennai, Bangalore and other Indian cities where Japanese firms are rapidly expanding.
So looks like Myanmar, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Chennai are on the list. JAL's main competitor All Nippon Airways (ANA) current resume their Tokyo Narita - Myanmar flight after 12 years of hiatus. ANA is also launching a new Tokyo Narita - New Delhi route on October 28 when the winter schedule begins and is currently the only Japanese carrier that flies to Mumbai. It makes sense for JAL to study whether it is the right move for them to expand into these emerging markets. Sri Lanka also makes sense because SriLankan Airlines will be joining oneworld.

This new list of possible expansion destinations is a bit different than the one Ueki talked about back in April. The only city that remains on the new list is Myanmar. Although additional Chinese cities were not on Monday's expansion list, Ueki also stated that he believes JAL's China network will in the long term and will continue to be one of JAL's key markets. Most likely any plan on the China network has been put on hold at this time due to the current territorial dispute between China and Japan. JAL expects weak demand on their Chinese flights in the next 6 months. So now probably not a good time to increase any capacity to China.

Also, none of the destinations from the list of possible 787 destinations in Europe and US that vice-president of network planning, Kiyoto Morioka, talked about back in April were mentioned by Ueki on Monday.

Given Ueki has said before JAL will be launching new destinations every fiscal year, we should be hearing some news for next year's expansion in the near future. I expect we will hear something at least by Feb 2013 when JAL announces their new plan for the next fiscal year. Until then, we can keep guessing :P

Related Posts:
JAL President hints possible international expansion destinations
JAL discusses more possible 787 destinations
JAL Mid-Term Management Plan for FY2012-2016
JAL Group Revises Route, Flight Frequency and Fleet Plans for FY2012

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