Lufthansa will soon fly its newish B747-8 to Tokyo.
From the start of the winter timetable on October 26, the aircraft will be rostered for the German airline’s daily link between Frankfurt and Tokyo’s “close-in” Haneda airport.
The flight timings will be attractive to business travellers and provide connections at Frankfurt to/from destinations throughout mainland Europe and Scandinavia.
Flight LH716 will depart Frankfurt at 1800 to arrive into Tokyo Haneda at 1305 the following day. Return flight LH717 is scheduled to leave Tokyo Haneda at 1520 and will arrive into Frankfurt the same day at 1900.
It is understood that from December 10, the B747-8 used on this route will be retrofitted with premium economy seating, in addition to the standard first, business and economy classes.
Lufthansa’s move demonstrates how airlines are seeking to make their Haneda services more attractive. In the early days, flight schedules had to meet the demands set down by the Japanese aviation authority (so they were not especially attractive) but these are gradually being relaxed.
Doubtless, if they had the opportunity, Lufthansa and other A380 airlines would operate their superjumbos into Haneda. But Tokyo’s main domestic airport, which was only reopened to international flights a few years ago, currently is not able to handle the superjumbo.
But not everything is positive. At the same time as Haneda is “upgraded”, flight operations to Tokyo Narita (previously Lufthansa’s flagship service to Japan) have been “downgraded” so that what was once an A380 route is now in the hands of an older and smaller A340-300.