Japan Airlines adds more Airbus A350s and Boeing Dreamliners to local routes, trims business class

29 Jan 2020 by Seher Asaf
Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines (JAL) is changing flight frequencies on some of its domestic routes during the 2020 fiscal year (April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021), while adding more new generation Airbus A350-900 and Boeing B787-8 Dreamliner aircraft to these services.

The Japanese flag carrier said it plans to operate nine of its A350-900s and four of its B787-8s to domestic destinations during this period. Currently, the airline operates five A350s and three Dreamliners on Japan domestic flights.

The airline said that both these aircraft had “received positive reviews” from customers.

While there will be no change to the seating configuration in the Dreamliners, the number of business class seats (which JAL calls “Class J”) on the A350-900 could be reduced on some flights.

It’s worth noting that JAL’s Class J on domestic routes is more akin to an international premium economy product, while “first class” is similar to regional business class. This article gives goes into detail on the seating available on JAL’s A350.

The A350’s cabin features what JAL calls “QCC (Quick Configuration Change)” allowing the carrier to change the number of seats in the aircraft to align with the seasonal demand. The first type of A350-900 configuration has 369 seats, with 12 in first class, 94 in Class J, and 263 in economy class. The second configuration has 391 seats with 12 in first class, 56 in Class J and 323 in economy class – a notable reduction of 38 Class J seats.

The change implies that JAL is expecting less premium cabin demand on some domestic routes in the coming fiscal year. For business travellers looking to book in Class J, it means it may be more difficult to secure a seat in this class, especially when booking last minute.

Cabin maps of the two different seating configurations can be viewed below:

QCC - Airbus A350 Cabin Specifications (Variants) / photo from JAL press release

While premium cabin availability will shrink on some domestic A350 flights, the good news is that frequency on some routes is increasing.

Route Effective Period (2020) Frequency
Tokyo (Haneda) = Sapporo (New-Chitose) July 1 – Oct. 24 16 daily to 17 daily
Tokyo (Haneda) = Okinawa (Naha) July 1 – July 16, Sept 1. – Oct. 24 12 daily 13 daily
Osaka (Itami) = Sapporo (New-Chitose) July 1 – Oct. 24 4 daily to 5 daily*
Okayama = Okinawa (Naha) May 12 – May 29. 1 daily to 2 daily**
Kagoshima = Yakushima Mar.29 – May 31, Jul. 1 – Oct. 24 4 daily to 5 daily
Okinawa (Naha) = Miyako Mar. 29 9 daily to 9.5 daily
Miyako = Ishigaki Mar. 29 2 daily to 2.5 daily

*Between Osaka (Itami) and Sapporo (New-Chitose), JAL will fly six daily flights between July 17 and August 31.

**Between Okayama and Okinawa (Naha), JAL will fly two daily flights for 14 days.

However, some routes will see frequency cuts. These are:

Route Effective Period (2020) Frequency
Tokyo (Haneda) = Tokushima Mar. 29 7 daily to 6 daily
Tokyo (Haneda) = Kitakyushu Mar. 29 5 daily to 4 daily
Osaka (Itami) = Fukuoka July 1 – Oct. 24 4 daily to 3 daily
Nagoya (Chubu) = Sapporo (New Chitose) Mar. 29 5 daily to 4 daily
Okinawa (Naha) = Ishigaki Mar. 29 8 daily to 7.5* daily

*The airline will be flying between Okinawa (Naha) and Ishigaki seven flights per day, and eight times a week between Ishigaki-Okinawa (Naha).

Furthermore, JAL subsidiary Hokkaido Air System, which is based at Sapporo Okadama airport, will start operating the new ATR42-600 from April 12, 2020, increasing the number of available seats. Hokkaido Air System currently flies a SAAB340B which has 36 seats. The ATR42-600 has 48 seats.

Loading comments...

Search Flight

See a whole year of Reward Seat Availability on one page at

Business Traveller September / October 2020 edition
Business Traveller September / October 2020 edition
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below