JAL Announces Details of New Narita Routes, Beats ANA in Becoming the First Japanese Airline to Serve Vladivostok

It’s been known for a while that JAL will be launching flights from Tokyo Narita to Vladivostok and Bengaluru in 2020. Today, it revealed the schedules of those flights.

Perhaps the most surprising part of the announcement is that it will become the first Japanese airline to serve Vladivostok – an achievement that ANA was originally intending to take credit for.

The airline also announced the schedules of its upcoming flight from Narita to San Francisco and of an additional frequency to Guam.

JAL Announces International Expansion at Narita Including Vladivostok
JAL will launch flights to Vladivostok in February 2020, beating ANA to the title of the first Japanese airline to serve the city.

JL423/424: Tokyo Narita – Vladivostok and Back

JAL will start its flights between Tokyo Narita (NRT) and Vladivostok (VVO) on February 28, 2020. The flights are initially expected to operate three times a week before turning daily on March 29, 2020.

Until March 28, 2020, the flights will operate with the following schedule:

  • JL423 / NRT – VVO / 11:30AM – 2:55PM (Wednesdays, Fridays & Sundays)
  • JL424 / VVO – NRT / 4:15PM – 5:30PM (Wednesdays, Fridays & Sundays)

Once the flight become daily, they will operate as follows:

  • JL423 / NRT – VVO / 11:20AM – 2:45PM (Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays)
  • JL423 / NRT – VVO / 10:40AM – 2:05PM (Tuesdays & Fridays)
  • JL424 / VVO – NRT / 4:25PM – 5:40PM (Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays)
  • JL424 / VVO – NRT / 3:35PM – 4:50PM (Tuesdays & Fridays)

JAL will deploy its 737-800s with 12 recliner business class seats and 132 economy class seats on the route. You can read my review of a similar flight in business class between Busan and Tokyo Narita here.

JAL Vladivostok Seats
JAL 737-800 business class.

As mentioned in the introduction, JAL will become the first Japanese airline to operate flights on the route. ANA, which announced the details of its Vladivostok route a few days ago, will not launch flights until a month later, March 28, 2020.

Even once it launches, though, it will only operate the flight twice a week. By that time, JAL will be offering flights on the route daily.

There are two other airlines operating between Tokyo Narita and Vladivostok: Aeroflot’s subsidiary Aurora (six weekly flights) and JAL’s oneworld partner S7 Airlines (daily flights).

Vladivostok will be JAL’s second Russian destination after Moscow Domodedovo.

JL753/754: Tokyo Narita – Bengaluru and Back

The flights from Tokyo Narita to Bengaluru (BLR) will start on March 29, 2020. In the other direction, the first flight will operate on March 30, 2020.

From there on, the flights will be run daily with the following schedule:

  • JL753 / NRT – BLR / 6:15PM – 12:35AM+1
  • JL754 / BLR – NRT / 2:45AM – 2:15PM

Boeing 787-8 aircraft with the excellent Apex suites in business class will be used on the route.

JAL Apex Suites
JAL 787-8 Apex suite.

JAL will be the first airline to offer a non-stop connection between Japan and Bengaluru. According to the press release:

The route to southern India, popularly known as “India’s Silicon Valley” will not only connect customers between Japan and India, but also provide convenient connections to/from North America via Narita.

Bengaluru will be the airline’s second destination in India. Currently, JAL operates daily flights between Tokyo Narita and Delhi.

Additional Frequencies to San Francisco and Guam

Besides the two new routes above, JAL will also offer an additional frequency from Tokyo to San Francisco (JL58/57) starting from March 29, 2020, and an additional frequency to Guam (JL943/944) starting from July 1, 2020.

Both of the new flights will operate daily.

JAL will use 787-8s with Apex suites on the San Francisco flights. Those will be operated in addition to the airline’s daily flights from Haneda. The additional frequency to Guam will be operated using 767-300ERs with staggered business class seats.

JAL 767-300ER Staggered Seat
JAL 767-300ER staggered seat.

Summary

While the additional frequencies to San Francisco and Guam are a nice addition to JAL’s schedule, naturally, the new routes to Vladivostok and Bengaluru are more exciting.

While the JAL won’t be the first airline to operate to Vladivostok, whether by design or coincidence, it will be the first Japanese airline to do so.

It will also be the first airline to connect Tokyo with Bengaluru. With that, Tokyo will have a non-stop connection with four Indian cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Bengaluru.

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