Japan Airlines Outlines Its Plans to Start a Medium and Long-Haul Low-Cost Carrier in 2020

In a press release published yesterday, Japan Airlines outlined its plans to start a new medium and long-haul low-cost carrier. The airline’s intent to start such an airline has been known for several weeks, but some new important details solidifying the plan were announced yesterday.

Japan Airlines Outlines Its Plans to Start a Medium and Long-Haul Low-Cost Carrier in 2020

JAL’s New Medium and Long-Haul Low-Cost Carrier

While the new airline’s name has not been decided (or at least announced) yet, it has become clear that Japan Airlines aims to start the new airline’s operations during the 2020 summer schedule – or roughly two years from now.

In order to achieve that goal, JAL plans to establish a company that will start working on the plan and later turn into the new airline in July 2018. Currently, JAL plans to launch the company as its fully-owned subsidiary, but it doesn’t exclude the possibility of including additional investors later on if necessary.

As for the new airline’s operations, it was announced that it will be based at Tokyo Narita airport and that initially it will operate a fleet of two Boeing 787-8 aircraft.

At this point, specific routes the airline will operate are not clear yet. However, based on the press release, JAL plans for the new airline to eventually operate to medium-haul destinations in Asia as well as long-haul destinations in Europe and the Americas.

Given that the airline will start operations with only a pair of 787s, it can either start with a single long-haul route to Europe or the Americas, or with a pair of routes to Southeast Asia (or Hawaii). Personally, I think it will be the latter, but I am curious to see what JAL’s decision regarding their routes as well as further fleet expansion will be.

Separately, I am also curious to see how (if at all) the airline will cooperate with Jetstar Japan which is partially owned by JAL and is responsible for the domestic and short-haul international part of “JAL’s low-cost network.”

In either case, the new airline should be a welcome addition by Japanese fliers as they will have yet another low-cost option to fly to destinations beyond Korea and other nearby countries.

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