When Japan Airlines unveiled its new Zipair Tokyo low-cost subsidiary last year, it had planned to launch passenger flights from Tokyo to Bangkok and Seoul this summer.

As recently as December the carrier published details of the cabin interiors for its B787-8 aircraft, including a fully flat bed in business class.

But Covid-19 has put paid to these plans, and Zipair Tokyo has now taken the decision to launch as a cargo-only carrier until such time as passenger services can be justified.

The airline plans to start cargo flights between Tokyo Narita and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport from June 3, using its B787-8 Dreamliner.

In a statement Zipair’s president Shingo Nishida said:

“Since the announcement of our business in May 2018, our employees have united to prepare for the launch of medium and long distance LCC services.

“Unfortunately, in light of the current situation, we are not able to launch passenger flights to Bangkok. As people around the world find new ways to promote their businesses, we decided to take a step forward by temporarily launching cargo-only flights between Japan and Thailand.

As a new airline that looks to serve a diverse customer base, our employees will continue to prepare for the much anticipated launch of passenger flights to destinations throughout the world.”

It’s not clear whether the B787 in question has been converted to take cargo in the passenger section of the aircraft, as we have seen with several carriers during the current crisis.