JAL has decided to operate a charter flight to Iwo Jima carrying Japanese war-bereaved relatives to hold a memorial service on the island. This is the first Iwo Jima charter flight by a Japanese airline and is being carried out at the request of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
Up until now, flights to the WW2 island battlefield were operated for the bereaved families using Japan Self Defense Force aircraft in a special government program. Last year JAL received a proposal from the Ministry to operate a charter flight and following a field survey JAL decided to go ahead and operate a charter flight. JAL is working with the Ministry of Defense who will provide assistance with local ground handling on the island’s military airstrip.
Many of the bereaved families are of advanced years and the use of a commercial airliner will ease the physical burden of the family members on the 702 mile (1123 km) journey to this remote island.