To celebrate a popular Japanese festival known as Hinamatsuri (Doll’s Festival), Japan Airlines (JAL) is yesterday operated a special all-girls/ladies flight from Tokyo Haneda to Seoul, using the airline’s first aircraft to have been painted with the airline’s revived red crane logo. With the exception of the captain, all staff members who worked on and operated Thursday’s flight were women, including those staff members supprting passenger handling at the gate, cargo loading on the ramp, maintenance of the aircraft prior to departure, as well as cabin attendants and the co-pilot.
JAL conducted Hinamatsuri Flights as well in 2009 and 2010 on domestic routes but this year, with the recent opening of Haneda’s international terminal, the designated flight today was a scheduled international service.
“I am grateful to many who supported this flight – my first with the aircraft spotting the crane livery,” said Madoka Tachikawa, co-pilot of the flight. “Without forgetting this feeling I have of flying this special flight, I shall work hard to continually provide safe and comfortable journeys for our customers.”
Ms Tachikawa was appointed a co-pilot licensed to fly Boeing 767 aircraft in April 2006.
Almost half of the workforce at JAL are women, including four co-pilots, 93 maintenance staff and 76 cargo-handling staff on the airline’s operational frontline. Last year, JAL subsidiary JAL Express welcomed the Group’s first female pilot, Ms Ari Fujii, who pilots Boeing 737-400 aircraft on domestic routes.
For a month leading up to Hinamatsuri, families with daughters display in their homes traditional Japanese ornamental dolls known as Hina ningyo, comprising figures of an emperor, empress, their attendants and musicians in a seven-tier platform.