aircraft will it operate and how many employees
will be dedicated to this unit? Tere are a few
key points. First, the long-haul LCC business will
launch in 2020, operating two 787s based at [Tokyo]
Narita. We have started recruiting pilots and cabin
crew. In terms of branding, we are also working on
the livery, uniforms and name and we are looking to
announce that in 2019, maybe spring 2019. We are
looking to start off with 100 employees, including
pilots, cabin crew and ground support crews. Ten
we will grow by two aircraft each year, adding more
pilots and cabins crews as we add the aircraft.
How will this operation both compete with established LCCs and yet not compete with JAL’s full-service international business? Right now, from
what we see in the LCC model, we don’t believe there
will be any cannibalism in this market. What we will
offer will be very different from what JAL offers now.
Te routes may be the same; they may be different.
But for Japan Airlines, the strategy will be different.
We will attend to them as two different markets.
Te higher business travelers are really pushing and
growing the market for Japan Airlines, so we believe
that the LCC market is different. We are not saying
that JAL’s LCC model will be totally different from
what others are doing in the LCC market. It may be
similar, but it will add to JAL’s revenues.
Talk about your network expansion plans for
North America. Seattle is a very competitive market
now, especially with Delta Air Lines in the market.
But there are two reasons why it is a growing market.
One, Seattle is changing and business demand
there is growing. Also, there is the strength of Japan
Airlines’ partnership with Alaska Airlines combined
with the fact that Alaska is strong in the Seattle market. We can leverage those strengths. Tere are good
synergies with Alaska, which adds 56 destinations
from Seattle to cities throughout North America.
Tat’s a big advantage that we believe our com-
petitor, for example, does not have. Te important
part about this is that the market is very strong in
business and leisure traffic, which means there will
be a lot of different kinds of customers out there and
their needs are very diversified.
Are you looking to add new direct services to
North America? Te US is a really important
market for us and a very strategic market. From
2020, slots will increase out of Tokyo and so that’s
the time when we can look at where we might be
able to increase direct routes to the US. At the same
time, we are really working with American Airlines
[a fellow oneworld member], which is a good partner
for us, so we can make the best strategic decisions as
How does being a oneworld member support
your growth strategy? Oneworld is one of our
most successful business relationships. It’s a very
important alliance that allows us to increase our
brand presence worldwide. At the same time, it’s
important to find new partners outside of oneworld.
Tere are possibilities and future opportunities,
maybe joint ventures, that can perhaps increase our
customer benefits and maybe expand our network. If
we can do that via a joint venture, we will. Tere are
possibilities that we cannot comment on now, but
we are looking into them. It’s all about how we can
increase our customer benefits. Tat’s our foundation
You have taken a $10 million stake in Boom
Supersonic, a US company that is developing a
supersonic airliner. That gives JAL the option to
purchase 20 of the Mach 2. 2, 55-seat airliners.
Do you believe supersonic commercial travel will
return and how would JAL leverage that?
Nothing is really set in stone with Boom right now.
We also don’t know if this program will be successful in terms of development. However, it’s more of
an investment which, if it works out, allows us the
opportunity to be one of the first customers. And if
we do that, what we would be looking at is the
transpacific market—to perhaps put this service into
the Japan-US market.
“There are ... future opportunities, maybe joint
ventures, that can perhaps increase our customer
benefits and maybe expand our network.”