On January 31, 2018, J-Air operated its last scheduled flights with Bombardier CRJ-200 aircraft while Ryukyu Air Commuter operated its last DHC-8-Q300 flight. Since each of the companies was the last Japanese airline operator of the respective type, the end of January also meant the end of the CRJ-200 and DHC-8-Q300 era at Japanese airlines.
J-Air CRJ-200 Retires: The End of the CRJ-200 Era
J-Air put its first CRJ-200 into service in 2001 and went on to replace its fleet of Jetstream 31 props with the regional jets.
While at one point it operated as many as 9 airframes of the type, on January 31, 2018, when the type was retired, only two were left. Interestingly, while one of them (JA208J) wore the latest JAL group livery, the other one (JA209J) retired wearing the previous-generation Sun Arc livery.
The last J-Air CRJ flight was operated by JA208J and took its passengers from Matsuyama to Osaka Itami as JL2310. Given that Ibex Airlines retired its last CRJ-200 last fall, the flight was also the last flight of the type operated by a Japanese airline.
With the last CRJ-200s gone, J-Air is left with a fleet of 17 EMB-170s and 11 EMB-190s. Besides those, it also has the first Japanese passenger jet, Mitsubishi MRJ-90, on order.
RAC Dash 8 Q300 Retires: The End of the Dash 8 Q300 Era
The second Bombardier retirement that took place on January 31, 2018, was the last flight of Okinawa-based Ryukyu Air Commuter’s sole DHC-8-Q300. The last flight to be operated by the RAC Q300 was flight RAC882 from Kumejima to Naha.
Photo by Mikihito Toda.
While in the past, ANA Wings operated the type as well, Ryukyu Air Commuter’s retirement also meant the end of the Q300 era at Japanese airlines.
That said, the type is still operated by the Japanese government. Specifically, the Japan Coast Guard and the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau still operate the turboprop.
As far as Ryukyu Air Commuter is concerned, with the airline’s four Q100s and sole Q300 retired, RAC successfully finished its fleet modernization. The five aircraft were replaced with five Q400CCs of which the airline was the world’s first operator.