Japan Airlines

JAL closing mainland offices, cutting routes

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 November, 2009, 12:00am


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Financially strapped Japan Airlines (JAL) will close offices in three mainland cities next month and cut international routes, a week after Tokyo unveiled a bailout plan for the carrier.

Four of the eight international routes being cut are mainland destinations. The daily services from Osaka to Hangzhou, Tokyo to Hangzhou, Tokyo to Qingdao and a thrice weekly service between Tokyo and Xiamen will be suspended from December 7. The suspension could turn out to be permanent as the airline will close down offices in Hangzhou, Qingdao and Xiamen.

'With a focus on improving profitability and reducing costs, a bold review of underperforming routes was conducted,' JAL said yesterday.

As a result, eight international and eight domestic routes as well as one cargo route were discontinued, the carrier said.

The service between Tokyo and Taipei will be reduced to 21 flights per week from 28 and a freighter service between Tokyo and Qingdao will be discontinued from December 3.

The cost-cutting is part of efforts to revitalise the airline, which is set to report its fourth loss in five years and outstanding debt of US$15 billion.

The carrier is obliged to cut 13,000 jobs by March 2015 and deal with unprofitable domestic and international routes in return for the government bailout.

After the cut in service, the number of Greater China destinations covered by JAL will be reduced to seven - Beijing, Dalian, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei and Tianjin.

JAL's capacity to Beijing and Hong Kong will be reduced from January by downsizing the aircraft serving the routes. The service between Osaka and Beijing will be replaced by the 165-seat Boeing 737-800, compared with the 237-seat B767-300ER.

The Tokyo-Hong Kong route will use the B767 instead of the B747-400 jumbo jet.

Other international services from Osaka to Busan, Hanoi and Kuala Lumpur through Singapore will be suspended in January. JAL will also cut the long-haul flight between Tokyo and Vancouver from January.