Brisbane Airport farewells Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines has officially advised Brisbane Airport Corporation Pty Limited (BAC) of their intention to cease operations of their daily Boeing 767 service from Tokyo Narita Airport in September 2010.

While this decision is disappointing it was not unexpected following Japan Airlines' filing for bankruptcy in January.

BAC met with Japan airlines in Tokyo in February and again more recently to receive a briefing on the circumstances surrounding the decision. BAC has worked in cooperation with Tourism Queensland and Tourism Australia for over a year on marketing campaigns to try to rescue the service.

Since November last year when Japan Airlines downsized their Brisbane service aircraft from an ageing Boeing 747 to a near new Boeing 767, passenger loads have been almost at capacity, averaging over 80% up to March this year.

In its letter to BAC Japan Airlines deeply regretted the decision which was taken following a requirement by their administrators to sell their fleet of fourteen Boeing 747 aircraft and to retire their ageing Airbus A300's. “Brisbane's” B767 will be allocated to another route in the JAL network.

BAC understands JAL's restructuring could take anywhere between one to three years and is being overseen by the Japan Ministry of Transport and a consortium of banks. Drastic measures are being taken to cut JAL's costs including retrenchment of almost half their 50,000 workforce and pruning their network of unprofitable routes.

JAL's letter to BAC stated unequivocally that once their restructure was complete and the company had returned to profitability, JAL would be seeking to reinstate the Brisbane - Narita service possibly using Boeing 787 aircraft. JAL has ordered a new fleet of Boeing 787 'Dreamliners' the first of which is scheduled for delivery in 2011.

Japan Airlines commenced flying to Brisbane from Narita in 1986.

Brisbane Airport is aware of the importance of the Japanese market to Queensland’s tourism operators and is working with the industry to develop alternative options for Japanese visitors to be able to access Queensland’s fantastic destinations.