Japan Airlines banks on the value of a morning arrival as it adds to London schedule

28 July, 2017

This winter, Japan Airlines (JAL) will reinstate a second daily flight into the London, but rather than the mid-afternoon arrival time seen on all other flights in the Tokyo - London market, the service will arrive in the UK capital in the early hours of the morning, providing the Asian airline with an unique selling point versus rivals. It last operated two daily flights into London from Tokyo late last decade after it switched an existing Osaka - London flight to the capital in March 2009, but it closed in December of the same year.

The new flight will commence from October 29, 2017 and will be flown by a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. It will depart Haneda at 02:45 and arrive in the UK at 06:25. It will then depart London at 09:30 and arrive back in Tokyo at 05:15 (summer) and 06:25 (winter) the following day. It is unclear how JAL gained the lucrative early morning slots that will permit it to deliver beyond flows via the significant operations of its partner British Airways.

TABLE - Planned Winter 2017/2018 Flights Between Tokyo and LondonSource: The Blue Swan Daily and OAG

The Japanese - UK market last year reached its highest level since 2007. A study by CAPA - Centre for Aviation shows that following a recent trend within the Japanese market, there has been a shift from Japanese outbound visitors to inbound visitors, but the outbound market to the UK, which it describes as critical to JAL success with the route, is in growth.

JAL's network growth has been facilitated by the removal of regulatory restrictions on the carrier that were imposed during a recent restructuring to limit any advantage the carrier gained over ANA when JAL went through the state-sponsored process.

The Blue Swan Daily analysis of OAG schedule data shows that JAL's second daily rotation and capacity increases from British Airways on its London Heathrow - Tokyo Narita flight, through the return of 777 operations, will help boost winter capacity on the route by 23.4% versus the winter 2016/2017 schedule. This will be the largest non-stop winter offering on the city pair since the 2013/2014 winter season when Virgin Atlantic still served the route.

CHART - Scheduled Network Capacity Between Tokyo and London by Season (2007 - 2017)Source: The Blue Swan Daily and OAG

CAPA - Centre for Aviation delivers insightful industry analysis. Visit Japan Airlines to operate a second daily London flight - gaining a rare strategic advantage over ANA to find out more on this story.