JAL has decided to revise the cargo fleet, route and frequency plan for the 2nd half of FY2007, the year ending March 31, 2008.The airline will speed up the retirement of 747 classic-type freighters from its fleet, and revisions to its cargo flight schedules, effective January 2008, will result in a 15% increase in 747-400 freighter operations between Japan and the USA, increasing profitability and maintaining a stable and continuous supply.
In line with the JAL Group’s medium term corporate plan FY2007-2010, JAL plans to retire all of its 747 classic-type freighters by the end of FY2009, and replace them with 747-400 conversions and 767 freighters. Replacing a 747F-200 with a 747-400 conversion will enable JAL to increase tonnage, from 90 tons to 110 tons, and increase operational efficiency through, for example, increased fuel efficiency. While the 747s are ideal for major cargo routes such as Hong Kong and Shanghai, the 767 (52 tons) is an excellent aircraft for smaller stations where there is still considerable demand.
At the end of FY2006, the year ending March 31, 2007, JAL had 9 classic-type 747 freighters in its fleet. JAL originally planned to retire a total of five 747 classic-type freighters in FY2007, but to further improve income amid rising fuel prices, it has decided to retire from operation two additional classic 747F’s by the end of March 2008.
By the end of FY2007, JAL’s freighter fleet will comprise 2 x classic-type 747’s, 7 x 747-400s (includes 5 conversions) and 3 of the latest state-of-the-art 767 freighter. From October 31, 2007 JAL will start its first cargo operation to Vietnam when the airline’s third 767 freighter enters into service. The other two new aircraft were delivered earlier this year and are being used on China and other Southeast Asia routes.
By making revisions to cargo flight schedules, effective from January 2008, JAL will be able to increase by 15% 747-400 freighter operations between Japan and the USA, increasing profitability and maintaining a stable and continuous supply. To increase 747-400 freighter operations, JAL will operate simple point to point round-trip flights on all transpacific routes, instead of routings with 2 stopovers. As a result, the airline will be able to increase the number of round-trip flights a 747-400 freighter can do on transpacific routes from 3 to 4 round trips per week. Even with the retirement of 747 classic type aircraft, overall freighter flight frequency between Japan and the US will remain almost unchanged.
Total air cargo demand in the 1st half of FY2007 was slightly below that of the previous year, but JAL was able to achieve good results, benefiting from its skill at handling the movement of such sensitive commodities as semiconductor production equipment.
In FY2007, JAL is aggressively expanding into markets where cargo demand is growing beyond passenger aircraft belly capacity, particularly on China and Southeast Asia routes. The airline plans to expand cargo operations while securing stable profitability by building an efficient operational base that utilizes an optimum combination of large and medium-sized aircraft.