By Will Lee
Japan Airlines Considers Replacements for Aircraft in Fleet
Japan Airlines is looking to modernize its fleet and subscribe to more fuel-efficient aircraft, according to Bloomberg.
The airline owns 45 Boeing 737 aircraft with a median age of 12.5 years old and looks to replace them with Boeing 737 MAXs or Airbus A320Neos. It is expected to be a contract of 30 to 50 narrow-body aircraft. Boeing and Airbus have declined to comment on the potential order.
“Upgrade to fuel-efficient aircraft and for short-haul fleet replacement we are considering the early introduction of new small and medium-sized aircraft,” the airline said in a statement and didn’t provide further information.
It comes after the airline has revealed the intention of replacing its aging Boeing 767 and Embraer SA regional aircraft. Earlier, Japan Airlines announced its plan of subscribing to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner or Airbus A321 to replace its fleet of Boeing 767, Airbus A220 and Embraer E2 models for regional aircraft. However, the airline hasn’t made the decision at the moment.
“We have got a fairly large 787 fleet, so whether it is an A321 that could then be used quite well within Asia as well, we really haven’t looked at the full decision,” Ross Leggett, Deputy Senior Vice President route marketing, international relations and alliances of the airline, said.
The airline currently owns a fleet of 31 Boeing 767s, 18 Embraer E170s, 14 Embraer E190s and 49 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
After being hit hard by the Covid-19, Japan Airlines is seeing a silver lining. According to Leggett, the domestic capacity had reached 100 percent of pre-pandemic levels in May, and the travel demand was about 85 to 95 percent of 2019.
Japan has gradually reopened its border, paving the way for the recovery of international travel. After two years of suspension, flight operations between Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and Seoul, South Korea’s Gimpo International Airport have resumed. The route was suspended since the pandemic began. Japan Airlines will join All Nippon Airways, Korean Air and Asiana Airlines to operate a total of 16 flights a week.
“The Gimpo-Haneda route bears a significant symbol of bilateral exchanges. The flight resumption is expected to serve as a chance to revitalize exchanges.” Korea’s Land Minister Hee-Ryong Won said. Compared to Tokyo’s Narita Airport and Incheon International Airport in Seoul, South Korea, Haneda and Gimpo are closer to downtown.
Japan Airlines will also enhance its route from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to Singapore to a daily operation next month. In the meantime, the airline strengthens its codeshare joint business partnership with Malaysia Airlines. In August, Malaysia Airlines will operate a twice-weekly service from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. Malaysia Airlines will operate its Airbus A330-300 on this new route. Travelers are expected to benefit from a seamless connection between Japan and Malaysia.