The JAL Group will reduce capacity on several of its international routes in April by cutting flight frequencies and switching to smaller aircraft. The airline said the measures, which are due to take affect between 6 and 27 April 2011, are intended to “secure profitability as travel demand decreases following the Tohoku Pacific earthquake”.
JAL will reduce a total of 74 weekly flights on 11 international routes temporarily, and will downsize the aircraft used on two routes – Tokyo (Narita) and Guam, as well as on its domestic route between Narita and Nagoya (Chubu).
JAL will reduce its Narita-Honolulu, Narita-Shanghai and Haneda-Seoul (Gimpo) services from 21 to 14 weekly flights, while its Narita-Beijing, Narita-Seoul (Incheon), Osaka-Seoul (Gimpo), Narita-Busan, Narita-Taipei and Kansai-Taipei services will all be halved from 14 to seven weekly flights. In addition JAL’s Narita-Kaohsiung services will be reduced from seven to three weekly flights, while the airline’s Narita-Hong Kong flights will be cancelled entirely.
JAL stressed that the cuts were temporary, but the fact that they are necessary shows the devastating impact the recent earthquake and tsunami have had on Japan’s aviation industry. For JAL, which is only just recovering from its January 2010 bankruptcy, the slump in demand for its international routes has the potential to severely impact its revival.
The carrier said in a separate statement yesterday that with the help of 11 financial institutes, it had made a one-time, full repayment of Reorganization Claims amounting JPY395.15 billion (US$4.9 billion).