JAL adds second daily London Heathrow – Tokyo Haneda flight

Japan Airlines (“JAL”) is to add a second daily London Heathrow – Tokyo Haneda flight with effect from Sunday 29 October 2017.

Japan Airlines - London Heathrow - Tokyo
Japan Airlines – London Heathrow – Tokyo

Japan Airlines (“JAL”) is to add a second daily London Heathrow – Tokyo Haneda flight with effect from Sunday 29 October 2017.

This means that, together with its joint-venture partner British Airways, JAL will offer four flights a day between London and Tokyo. BA will continue to fly to both Tokyo Narita and Tokyo Haneda airports daily.

The new JAL flight (JL41 & J42) will depart London Heathrow at 09:30 and return to London Heathrow at 06:25. The flight will be operated by a Boeing 787 in a three class configuration.

It’s noteworthy that BA and JAL have chosen to add capacity between London and Japan when history has shown that inbound visitors from Japan to Europe can be very sensitive to terrorist incidents.

In addition, BA and JAL have chosen to a fourth daily frequency from London to Tokyo, rather than add a flight to an unserved destination in Japan such as Osaka or Nagoya. This does give BA and JAL a substantial frequency advantage over All Nippon Airlines which is the only other airline to fly between London and Tokyo after Virgin Atlantic withdrew from Tokyo on 31 January 2015.

The new flight will be on sale at Japan Airlines from Friday 14 July 2017.

BA has not yet added a codeshare to the additional flight but should do so shortly.
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Iberia to return to Tokyo and aims to launch flights to Shanghai in move to make Madrid a global aviation hub

Iberia has announced it is to return to Japan with the launch of a three times weekly flight from Madrid to Tokyo Narita from Tuesday 18 October 2016.

The airline also aims to launch flights from Madrid to Shanghai later in 2016, subject to Government approval and obtaining slots at Shanghai.
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Iberia targets Tokyo, Doha, Johannesburg, Toronto, Guadalajara, Managua, San Juan de Puerto Rico, Brasilia, and Asuncion in long haul expansion

Iberia is to examine opening new routes (and in some cases re-instating routes) to Tokyo, Doha, Johannesburg, Toronto, Guadalajara (Mexico), Managua (Nicaragua), San Juan de Puerto Rico, Brasilia and Asuncion (Paraguay) the airline announced today.

The routes are likely to launch in 2016 and 2017 and are subject to its parent company, International Airlines Group, placing orders for additional aircraft, including five Airbus 330-200 aircraft, with Airbus.  

IAG also hopes to order a further eight Airbus A350-900 aircraft as a replacement for Iberia’s existing fleet. An announcement could be made as early as next week.

The announcement is significant as it is further evidence of IAG’s turnaround of Iberia which has also seen the airline launch new routes to Medellin and Cali in Columbia.

That said, it has to be said it is somewhat unusual for an airline to announce a possible order for aircraft in advance of it being finalised. 

Nor do airlines normally give away much with regard to future route launches, for obvious competitive reasons (though negotiations with airports on landing fees could be a factor).

Of the routes mentioned Doha and Tokyo are noteworthy as these would be the airline’s only routes to the Middle East and Asia and would be the airline’s first step in making Madrid a global (rather than purely west bound) long-haul hub. We assume they would be supported by code shares with fellow Oneworld alliance partners Qatar Airways and Japan Airlines.  

It is noteworthy that Hong Kong and Singapore are not listed, particularly Hong Kong as it is the hub of fellow alliance partner Cathay Pacific.

The launch of more routes to Central and South America also cements Iberia’s position in this market. We are surprised not to see more North American destinations, but these are of course well served by British Airways.

Virgin Atlantic suspends flights to Cape Town, Mumbai, Tokyo Narita and Vancouver in major network overhaul

Virgin Atlantic has today announced a major over-haul of its long-haul network, in what is arguably the single biggest chance to its network since the events of 11 September 2001.

Virgin’s year-round services from London Heathrow to Mumbai and Tokyo Narita will be suspended from 31 January 2015.

Virgin’s seasonal flights from London Heathrow to Vancouver and Cape Town will be suspended permanently from 11 October 2014 and 26 April 2015 respectively.

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Air France launches short-notice £999 business class sale fares to Dubai, Mumbai, Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto

There has been a trend in recent years for airlines to announce short-notice sales of deeply discounted business and first class tickets, primarily aimed at leisure travellers in periods where bookings from corporate travellers are relatively low.

Air France has followed this trend and has just announced a special £999 fare for business class flights from London Heathrow to Dubai, Mumbai, Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto.

Whilst £999 is a lot of anyone’s money, it does make the business class cabin much more accessible for those willing to pay and the pricing is particularly keen when compared to economy fares for direct flights during busy travel periods.

Bookings must be made by Monday 18 August 2014. However, bookings are valid for travel from 22 August 2014 to 31 March 2015. Bookings can be made for flights on both Air France and its sister airline, KLM.

As these are not direct flights from London, it does involve a change at either Amsterdam Schipol or Paris Charles de Gaulle airports (a connection at the former is much easier!).

It’s also worth noting that neither Air France nor KLM currently guarantee fully flat beds in business class across all flights. Both airlines are rolling out new fully flat business class products as per the Air France and KLM microsites.

There’s more about the sale on the Air France website.

Virgin Atlantic’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner: Initial seat plans & product information published.

Virgin Atlantic is readying for the launch of its inaugural Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight from London Heathrow to Boston on 28 October 2014.

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Sir Richard Branson pictured in a mock-up of the Boeing 787, some seven years ago.

The airline has published a microsite detailing its plans.

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Virgin Atlantic’s Thirtieth Anniversary: 30 Years of Virgin Atlantic In Pictures (Part 2)

As Virgin Atlantic celebrates its thirtieth anniversary later this month, here are more images from the airline’s history.

Whilst Virgin Atlantic’s route network is relatively small compared to its major rivals, when it does launch a route, the airline can never be accused of not making an entrance:

Embed from Getty Images

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