Japan Airlines is considering more US destinations

Dec 6, 2019

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Japan Airlines has the Americas in its sights for continued expansion next year after the big boost at its Tokyo Haneda hub .

The Oneworld alliance member is eyeing adding new U.S. markets as soon as 2021, said JAL senior vice-president for the Americas Kiyoto Morioka at the ACI-NA 2019 Aviation Issues Seminar in Washington on Thursday. Without providing specifics, he said JAL is considering cities on both coasts, though he noted that any market will only be added in coordination with its partner American Airlines.

Orlando (MCO), San Jose (SJC) in California, and Washington Dulles (IAD) are among the largest markets that JAL does not serve on either coast.

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Japan Airlines is looking at adding new destinations on both coasts as soon as 2021. (Photo by Edward Russell/TPG, presentation by JAL)
A map of Japan Airlines future plans for North America in Kiyoto Morioka’s presentation at the ACI-NA Issues Seminar in Washington on Nov. 5, 2019. (Photo by Edward Russell/TPG)

The growth would come at least a year after JAL adds six daily flights to the U.S. from Haneda International Airport (HND), which is much closer to central Tokyo than its primary long-haul base at Narita International Airport (NRT). Most of the new Haneda flights will replace existing services from Narita, with the exception of Chicago O’Hare (ORD) that will see a new Haneda flight next year with Narita service suspended until 2021.

“2020 is a big evolution year for JAL,” said Morioka.

JAL also tipped its hat toward future U.S. fleet plans. The airline plans to use the 13 Airbus A350-1000s it has on order to eventually replace Boeing 777-300ERs on U.S. routes, possibly as soon as 2023, Morioka said.

Related: Japan Airlines plans big shift in U.S. flights to Tokyo Haneda

The carrier took delivery of its first A350, a smaller -900, in June. The aircraft flies between Haneda and both Fukuoka (FUK) and Sapporo (CTS) currently, according to Cirium schedules.

Elsewhere in the Americas, JAL hopes to maintain its partnership with LATAM Airlines after the South American giant leaves Oneworld next fall. LATAM will depart the alliance as part of its new strategic partnership with Delta Air Lines, which will see it drop its long-standing partner American in February.

“We hope that we can continue the current relationship with LATAM,” said Morioka. “They are a very important partner to us to South America.”

Morioka explained that LATAM provides better connectivity to Peru, home to a large Japanese heritage population, and western South America than some of JAL’s other partners.

Related: LATAM Airlines sets timeline for Oneworld departure

LATAM executives have said that they airline plans to maintain many of its bilateral relationships with Oneworld carriers other than American, but have not provided specifics.

JAL codeshares with LATAM on numerous routes to South America, Cirium schedules show. Covered routes include flights between Los Angeles (LAX) and New York John F. Kennedy (JFK) and both Lima (LIM) and Santiago (SCL) in Chile.

Featured image by Christoph Schmidt/picture alliance via Getty Images.

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