In a bid to restore profitability Japan Airlines (JAL) will shortly withdraw flights from three major European cities: Amsterdam, Milan and Rome.
The network cuts take effect from the end of September and mean that fans of the Oneworld alliance based in Holland and Italy will no longer have the option of speedy direct service to Japan.
Home carriers KLM and Alitalia (members of the rival Skyteam alliance) will be the beneficiares as they will enjoy a monopoly.
JAL will continue to operate to Tokyo out of Frankfurt and Paris CDG in addition to London Heathrow.
So taking a Oneworld carrier from Holland or Italy will mean having to route via Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific or taking British Airways and JAL services via London Heathrow.
The good news for JAL passengers using Tokyo is that it has finally announced new and extra flights from the capital’s original and more handy Haneda airport (see Tokyo’s new and convenient gateway for more details). In the case of Europe it means a new route which will link Haneda with Paris CDG.
It had been thought that Singapore’s SIA would be the first carrier to operate long distance services from Tokyo Haneda. But it now seems likely that national airline JAL will pip SIA to the post.
Haneda (12 miles/19 km out) is far more convenient to downtown Tokyo than Narita (41 miles/66 km). and now JAL has decided to transfer a number of regional flights over from Narita. At the same time it will launch a number of new long distance routes out of Haneda.
Subject to government approval, JAL intends to offer regional services from Haneda to Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taipei.
From October 31, JAL expects to launch new long-haul flights from Haneda to San Francisco, Honolulu, Bangkok and Paris CDG.
The Paris route will be of particular interest to readers in Europe. If the route goes ahead as planned, it will be the first time any carrier has flown direct between Europe and Haneda since the opening of Narita (currently the sole arrival airport for flights departing Europe) in 1978.
For more information visit jal.com.
Report by Alex McWhirter