Local governments continue to protest against JAL's route suspensions


It sucks to be one of the cities on Japan Airlines' (JAL) chopping block because losing the direct flights to the cities means a blow to the local economy. That's why the local governments don't give up and keep protesting against the planned suspensions. Officials from 16 Japanese prefectures had a meeting with JAL executives and on the other hand Hawaii Tourism Authority has started an online petition to save the Narita-Kona once daily flight. Doesn't look like they officials will give up until the very last minute.

According to The Mainichi Daily News (in japanese), officials from 16 prefectures met with JAL executives including COO Oonishi. The government officials have been notified of the planned withdrawal and argued this will destroy their local economy, destroyed Japan's aviation network and the Japanese moral! And they think when the economy recovers the routes will become profitable again and blah blah blah.

Sure, if the economy recovers, the routes will be profitable. But JAL cannot afford to wait for the routes to become profitable once again. In some cases, JAL's flights are the only ones serving the airport. JAL's withdrawal essentially means shutting down the airport if no one going to pick up the abolished routes. This is harsh but JAL shouldn't be the one paying for the price for the problems the previous Japanese government created. IMHO, JAL should decide on its own on the fate of these routes. If the local governments want to help, great, give them some specific plan and not keep repeating the same point over and over. And as I have said before, have a back up plan. Go solicit ANA, Fuji Dream Airlines, Skymark, etc. Or doing something like the Hokkaido regional government did with Hokkaido Air System (HAC), i.e. start up a joint venture with JAL and share the loss. Listening to Japanese governments and fly to those regional airports is one of the main causes of JAL's mess. So please don't do that again.

On the international side, Hawaii 24/7 reports that Hawaii Tourism Authority started an online campaign to save the Kona flight. They government officials flew to Japan and met with JAL last week. There were no official statements released after the meeting. But Hawaii 24/7 reports that an official statement regarding the visit will be released some time this week. Meanwhile the officials want you to sign the online petition or write a letter of support.

IMHO you should only sign the petition or write the letter if you actually flew or plan to fly on this route. Telling JAL they should keep the route but one the other hand you have no intention to fly on it is not cool. And that's not the right thing to do. To be honest, increased advance reservations on this route will be a more effective way to save the route. It's the one who are have bought a ticket that matters most!

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  1. I am afraid petitions or pre bookings will not help.
    For example according to rumours, JAL is willing to close all flights to Italy (FCO and MXP) while this is the main destination in terms of number of passengers to Europe.
    Most of the flights are full of passengers but routes are considered not profitable (I am wondering if figures are correct....).
    I am sure Alitalia will make a lot of money when they get monopoly on this high traffic route..