Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, September 6, 2001

JAL shifting some flights to Narita

Bloomberg News Service

TOKYO — Japan Airlines Co., Asia's biggest carrier, will shift some international flights from regional airports in Japan to Tokyo's Narita airport when a new runway opens to tap more of the capital's business travel market.

The Tokyo region "is a bigger market" than elsewhere in Japan, said Keita Sataka, director of route and fleet planning at the airline.

"Revenue per seat is better than in other regions," he said, declining to say how many routes it plans to divert to Tokyo's main international airport.

Airlines are adjusting their flight schedules to take into account Narita's second runway, which will increase existing capacity by half when it opens in April. Japan Airlines will decide on the number of additional routes it will operate from Narita after the Japanese government allocates new landing rights by November.

More flights to the airport, which handles 52 percent of the country's international traffic, may allow Japan Airlines to improve the profitability of aircraft if it fills more first- and business-class seats, the company said. Japan Airlines wants as many new slots at the airport as it can get, while rival All Nippon Airways Co. has said it wants to triple flights from Narita airport, Asia's third-biggest international hub.

Northwest Airlines Corp., the largest foreign airline operating in Japan, rival AMR Corp.'s American Airlines and UAL Corp.'s United Airlines Inc. are lobbying aviation authorities for new landing rights at Narita.

Still, Japan Airlines has no plans to add new aircraft on overseas routes until 2004 at the earliest, and flights from airports including Kansai in the west of the country and Nagoya in central Japan will be cut as flights move to Narita. The carrier will try to make better use of existing aircraft, Sataka said.

Kansai Airport, which charges the world's second highest landing charges behind Narita, has seen several airlines cut flights there because weak demand made services unprofitable.

In July, Northwest Airlines said it will suspend more than half of its flights from the airport, cutting the number of departures to 14 a week.

Other airlines that have halted flights from Kansai include All Nippon, and British Airways Plc1.