JAL and ANA ground Boeing 787 Fleets

All Nippon Airways (ANA) and its rival Japan Airlines (JAL), the two biggest carriers in Japan, have both announced the grounding of their entire Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleets following Wednesday morning’s emergency landing at the Takamatsu airport in Kagawa Prefecture. Five day’s worth of malfunctions and problems with the new aircraft has now continued into a second week with a Tokyo-bound ANA flight landing after smoke was seen in the cockpit.

ANA and JAL are among Boeing’s most important customers, having placed a combined total of 111 of the new 787 Dreamliners. Following the news of Wednesday’s incident, both airlines announced they were taking the airplanes out of operation for safety inspections. ANA currently has 17 in operation, while JAL has seven. Spokesmen from ANA haven’t commented about the sightings of smoke, but they said a problem with the battery system resulted in an error message displayed in the cockpit. While the passengers and crew had to use the emergency exit chutes after the plane landed, none of the 138 people on board were injured.

ANA has said it is “aware” of the troubling series of incidents involving the Boeing 787 over the last week, but adds that it is not ready to comment about the emergency landing or if today’s malfunction is related to any previous problems. While some of the other issues have been relatively minor, such as a cracked windshield or a leaking fuel valve, the others have included a malfunctioning brake system and, even more alarming, a fire breaking out in the battery compartment just after a JAL flight landed in Boston. Flight regulators in both the U.S. and Japan are launching their own investigations, spurred by a growing concern from travelers.


US-bound Japan Jet Turned Back After Bomb Threat

A Japan Airlines flight to the US with over 250 passengers and crew on board was aborted due to a bomb threat which reportedly demanded the release of a notorious criminal, the airline said yesterday.

The carrier said it received an email that warned a bomb was planted inside the plane less than two hours after the Boeing 777 left for New York on Wednesday.

Jiji Press news agency reported yesterday that the email demanded the release of Shoko Asahara, the mastermind behind the 1995 Tokyo subway gas attacks, which killed 13 and injured thousands.

Read the rest of the story: US-bound Japan jet turned back over bomb threat.

Japan Airlines to try to raise $8 bln in IPO

Japan Airlines, targeting to raise roughly $8 billion in the world’s second-biggest initial public offering this year, will apply as early as Wednesday to re-list its shares in September, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The IPO underscores the former national carrier’s emergence from bankruptcy with r ecord p rofits. The sale will be second in size to social networking giant Facebook’s $16 billion offering this year, and the seventh-largest ever in Japan (EUREX: FMJP.EX – news) in yen terms, acco rding to Thomson Reuters (Toronto: TRI.TO – news) data.

The Japanese government, which injected 350 billion yen ($4.44 billion) into Japan Airlines (JAL (Frankfurt: 777495 – news) ) after it collapsed in January 2010 with $25 billion in debts, stands to double its investment if the IPO, slated for mid-September, is completed without a hitch.

Read the rest of the story: Japan Airlines to apply for September relisting after $8 bln IPO-source.

Japan Air Sees ‘Very Long’ Wait for U.S. Sales Rebound

Japan Airlines Co., the nation’s biggest international carrier, said ticket sales in Europe and the U.S. were lagging behind forecasts and would take a “very long” time to recover from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.“The recovery of demand from Europe and North America has not met our expectations,” President Masaru Onishi said in an interview in Singapore yesterday, ahead of the International Air Transport Association annual general meeting. “We feel it’s going to be a very long, drawn out and slow recovery.”JAL and overseas carriers including United Continental Holdings Inc. and AMR Corp.’s American Airlines cut Japan flights after the March 11 earthquake as concerns about radiation leaking from a crippled nuclear plant north of Tokyo deterred visitors.

Read the rest of the story: Japan Air Sees ‘Very Long’ Wait for U.S. Sales Rebound on Quake.

Japan Airlines and American talk about alliance

The heads of American Airlines and Japan Airlines said Tuesday that their alliance will give travelers cheaper fares, more routes and easier connections on flights across the Pacific.

U.S. and Japanese regulators approved the strengthened alliance late last year, after the two nations signed an "open skies" deal for air travel. American Airlines and Japan Airlines have cooperated for the past 15 years.

"Together, we will be stronger and more competitive," American Airlines President Thomas Horton said as he and Masaru Onishi, his counterpart at Japan Airlines, met with reporters.

Bringing their operations closer will result in a combined sales boost and cost savings of 13 billion yen ($156 million) Onishi said, while refusing to give details of how revenue will be shared by the two carriers.

Both sides said they hoped to make Chicago a major hub for JAL flights under the arrangement with American. The number of flights between Tokyo’s Narita airport and Chicago that can connect to other U.S. destinations within three hours of arrival in Chicago will rise from 43 to 45, they said.

Read the rest of the story: Japan Airlines and American talk about alliance.

Japan Airlines to cut 16,500 jobs

Japan Airlines Corp plans to reduce its workforce by a third within the fiscal year to lower labor costs by 81.7 billion yen a year, the Nikkei business daily said. The restructuring proposal compiled by the carrier and the state-backed Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp of Japan suggests to cut 16,500 jobs. The proposed cuts include 5,405 workers from cargo and other peripheral operations, 2,460 flight attendants, 2,043 sales representatives and 775 pilots.

Read the rest of the story: Japan Airlines to cut 16,500 jobs

Fly with Doraemon on JAL

Their stocks are plunging and they are preparing to file for bankruptcy, but that’s not stopping the struggling Japan Airlines (JAL) from offering travelers the opportunity to fly with Doraemon, the beloved cartoon gadget-cat from the future.

According to a press release on the company website, JAL will begin operating the “Doraemon Jet” — a Boeing 777-300 decorated with large colorful images of Doraemon characters — on domestic routes (mainly between Tokyo Haneda, Sapporo, Itami, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Okinawa) beginning in mid-February.

The anime-themed aircraft is the result of a joint effort between JAL and the creators of the Doraemon movies to promote this year’s annual Doraemon film, Doraemon The Movie: Nobita’s Great Battle of the Mermaid King (a.k.a. Doraemon The Legend), which will hit theaters on March 6. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Doraemon movie franchise.


In addition to operating the Doraemon Jet, JAL will be offering Doraemon-themed tours to Okinawa from February 15 through April 30 with daily departures from Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Kitakyushu. The carrier will also provide a selection of Doraemon entertainment on domestic and international flights, as well as a Doraemon kids’ corner at airports and limited-edition Doraemon goods through their in-flight catalog.

Story: pinktentacle and JAL press release

Flight May Get Cheaper Between US and Japan With New ‘Open-Skies’ Deal

Japan and the United States have reached an “open skies” deal removing restrictions on flights, opening the way to lower fares across the Pacific and to shake up alliances among airlines.

The agreement, reached late Friday after five rounds of talks culminating in a full week of closed-door negotiations in Washington, could give new urgency to bids by US carriers for a slice of ailing giant Japan Airlines.

Japanese and US negotiators agreed to scrap a half-century accord that preset the number of flights, instead allowing carriers in the world’s two largest economies to adapt schedules to demand.

In one key point of contention, the United States said Japan agreed to give US carriers greater access to Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda airports, gateways into Japan and lucrative Asian markets.

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the open skies deal “has been a longstanding US goal and is good news for air travelers and businesses on both sides of the Pacific.”

“Once this agreement takes effect, American and Japanese consumers, airlines and economies will enjoy the benefits of competitive pricing and more convenient service,” he said in a statement.

In Tokyo, Transport Minister Seiji Maehara also praised the deal.

“The Japan-US route is the biggest aviation market for Japan. It is extremely meaningful to reach the accord,” he said.

But the two sides did not announce a date for the agreement to go into effect, with LaHood saying that the two countries had to finalize procedures.

Japan’s two carriers — Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways — have both been seeking exemption from US antitrust laws, which is now possible with the open skies deal but needs review from another part of the US government.

Japan Airlines (JAL), which has been cutting thousands of jobs to stay afloat despite three government bailouts since 2001, held out high hopes from the open skies deal.

“Our company hopes to build a strong network by applying for antitrust immunity after determining a US airline company as our partner,” JAL president Haruka Nishimatsu said.

The open skies agreement would make it easier for Japanese and US carriers to forge new code-sharing alliances.

US carriers had been racing to seal deals with Japan Airlines before the open skies deal comes into effect, but JAL has been calmly examining the bids.

Japan Airlines’ current partners led by American Airlines last week offered it a 1.1 billion-dollar lifeline, hoping to counter a bid by rival Delta Air Lines which is hoping the Japanese carrier switches allegiances.

American Airlines accused Delta of trying to derail the open skies talks, believing it would lose out.

“This open skies agreement will effectively reset the playing field and enable new working relationships,” said Will Ris, American’s senior vice president for government affairs.

But Delta said it supported the deal and hoped it would “enable Delta and Japan Airlines to engage in deeper and more effective cooperation, producing greater benefits for the carriers and their customers.”

It will be the 95th open skies deal for the United States and replace a bilateral agreement with Japan dating to 1952, in the wake of World War II.

Under the existing agreement, Japanese carriers run 136 passenger flights each week between the countries — 94 by Japan Airlines and 42 by rival All Nippon Airways — while US carriers fly 296.

Japanese carriers argue that the number of flights is lopsided in favor of US airlines, but US carriers counter that it is evenly divided when looking at flights by alliances rather than individual carriers.

Japan Airlines is partnered with American Airlines in the Oneworld alliance, while the Star Alliance groups All Nippon Airways, Continental Airlines and United Airlines.

Delta and its subsidiary Northwest Airlines have no Japanese partner in their Sky Team alliance.

Source: AFP
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