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JAL's Fleet - Why So Old?  
User currently offlineTG992 From New Zealand, joined Jan 2001, 2910 posts, RR: 10
Posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 6229 times:

Hi all,

I did start this topic a year or so back, but nothing came of it. I'd like to try again. Quite simply..

Why is JAL's fleet so old?

The reason I'm asking is because, as an Asian country at the very forefront of prosperity and things technologically advanced, I would have thought JAL would follow the trend of most top Asian airlines (ie CX, SQ, etc) and operate a very modern fleet, rather than..

DC-10s and 747-300s

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747-100s and -200s

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Photo © Jeremy Chiou



Don't get me wrong - I think it's fantastic! But I'm interested in your comments as to why JAL chooses to pursue such a different business plan compared to the other top Asian airlines. Are they modelling themselves after Northwest, who, (to put it in simple terms) using cheaper, fully-paid for, older aircraft rather than expensive, leased, but more efficient aircraft like their competitors?


-
39 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSafetyDude From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3795 posts, RR: 15
Reply 1, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 6166 times:

JAL can effectively use DC-10s and 747-Classics, so until things go astray, they would probably want to use money for other things. I believe, but I could be wrong, that almost all of JAL's long-haul fleet is just 744s and 777s, leaving the other planes for medium- and shot-haul routes.

 Smile
-Will



"She Flew For What We Stand For"
User currently offline9V-SVC From Singapore, joined Oct 2001, 1797 posts, RR: 10
Reply 2, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 6157 times:

I thiink they have one of the most interesting Boeing fleet around. I felt that sad they gotten rid of the MD-11s first but I guess the MD-11 is more suited for cargo operations.


Airliners is the wings of my life.
User currently offlineBa319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8546 posts, RR: 54
Reply 3, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 6096 times:
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I don't think JAL's fleet is that old,yes they do still operate some DC-10's and some older 742's,but lets not overlook the large number of new AB6,772,773,744 and 763 aircraft they fly.

The new 773ER aircraft will being to replace the older DC-10's,742's and the last of the MD-11 fleet,so they will have a pretty young fleet in the not too distant future.




111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlinePositive rate From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 2143 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 6069 times:

So they have some DC-10's and 747 classics in their fleet- big deal. At least they have an interesting fleet- not just the usual boring 747-400 like most INTL carriers have. And the DC-10/742 are a minority in the fleet anyhow.

User currently offlineEddieDude From Mexico, joined Nov 2003, 7582 posts, RR: 42
Reply 5, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 5810 times:

Hopefully JL's NRT-YVR-MEX flights will be upgraded from the current 743 to 744's or, better, 773ER's.


Next flights: MEX-GRU (AM 77E), GRU-GIG (JJ A320), SDU-CGH (G3 73H), GRU-MEX (JJ A332).
User currently offlineAC From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2004, 77 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 5723 times:

Their fleets are well-maintained and are without major problems relating to their age, so there is no point to replace them simply because they are old. JAL should allocate more resources to their domestic business as ANA still has a big lead in market share and is expanding the international network by ordering new planes.


I Believe I Can Fly...
User currently offlineAa61hvy From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 13977 posts, RR: 57
Reply 7, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 5706 times:

I didnt know JAL had A300s... You may want to check into that. I know they have 762's (at least used to) and 763's.


Go big or go home
User currently offlineSwissgabe From Switzerland, joined Jan 2000, 5266 posts, RR: 32
Reply 8, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 5638 times:

JAL got their A300 from JAS (Japan Air System) when they took them over.
As per other discussions, some of their A300 are the latest one built and are not that old, just as a note.

I flew recently on their 742 (in the upper deck) and it was quite fun. I also had the pleasure to fly their D10.



Smooth as silk - Royal Orchid Service /// Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens - Springbok
User currently offlineBurnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7545 posts, RR: 8
Reply 9, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 5621 times:

OR, it could be since NW had a major role in getting JAL started, that just maybe they are taking after their dad.  Big thumbs up


"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offlineSpacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3629 posts, RR: 12
Reply 10, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 5279 times:

The DC-10's are slated for retirement fairly soon, as are some of the A300's (I've heard from a JAL employee that a few of the A300's will not even be repainted in JAL livery because they're going to be retired). Not sure about the MD-11's, but I don't think they're very old, and anyway they serve the routes they're on pretty well.

The 747-100's are, AFAIK, actually 747-SR's. In fact, if you open up the first pic posted up there, you can see it even says this is the only one they've got left. The 747-SR is a short-haul, high-capacity domestic widebody built only for JAL and ANA for specific routes. There may still be no better plane for whatever route this plane flies on (you're not going to fly a 747-400 between Tokyo and Osaka), although the 747-400D has replaced most of the SR routes as I'm sure it can have even higher capacity with the longer upper deck (though JAL also has some 747-100-SUD models, I found out in this forum a while back).

The 747-300's are also mainly used on domestic and short-haul international routes to the rest of Asia. These are not the company's "prestige" routes and it would probably not be worth replacing them until they're near the end of their useable lifespan, which isn't here yet.

They do also have plenty of 747-400's for their prestige and long-haul international routes; they just have a whole lot of 747's in general.

I agree with whoever said JAL's got a really interesting fleet, and to really understand it you have to understand how the current JAL was formed (through a lot of recent acquisitions and on the other hand a lot of spinoffs and sub-airlines), and also the uniqueness of the Japanese and Asian market. 747-100's seem weird to us today because no US carrier flies 747's domestically anymore. But both ANA and JAL do, a lot. ANA also still has a lot of 747-SR's and also 747-200's. As for the DC-10's and MD-11's, I'm not sure if they're any older than a lot of airlines' 767-200's, for example... but they carry more people, which is important for the Japanese market.

I don't think JAL's doing all that well financially lately, so they're in a similar position to a lot of US airlines in terms of modernizing their fleet... I know they're going to phase out the DC-10, I've heard they'll be retiring some A300's... but the other aircraft probably do well enough and aren't worth updating yet, given JAL's financial position.



I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
User currently offlinePronto From Canada, joined Mar 2000, 328 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 4298 times:

Just adding to what others have said - in some cases the fleet still has "time" left on it(they use wide-bodies for domestic flights, don't forget). Also, the fleet from JAS is pretty young(MD-90s and A300-600). Perhaps we could see a JAL order for 7E7s to replace their older 767s(I believe they have some 767s on order still)

User currently offlineGigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 84
Reply 12, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks ago) and read 4274 times:

he DC-10's are slated for retirement fairly soon, as are some of the A300's

The A300B and A300B2s will be retired, as is appropriate. The A300B4-600Rs will be kept, since they are virtually brand-new aircraft.

The new 763s on order are to replace that lost capacity.

N


User currently offlineConcordeLoss From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 388 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks ago) and read 4127 times:

747-100's seem weird to us today because no US carrier flies 747's domestically anymore. But both ANA and JAL do, a lot.

Does this only pertain to the Asian market, Or do other carriers use 747's domestically?



"You're not as stupid as you look, or sound, or our best test indicates" Burns to Homer
User currently offlineL.1011 From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 2209 posts, RR: 9
Reply 14, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 4080 times:

Does this only pertain to the Asian market, Or do other carriers use 747's domestically?

The only place where it is commonplace enough for a special variant is Japan. However, NWA and UAL fly the odd domestic route with the airplanes, generally hub-hub. Also, Japanese and other Asian airlines frequently fly the 747 on short international routes that are short enough to be US domestic. However, "back in the day" (think 70s) AA, DL, NW, UA, EA, PA, TW, and BI all used 747s domestically. American had 747s flying transcontinental and midcon routes for many years. Delta kept their 747s for about 5 years, before they figured out it didn't work with their route system. Northwest serviced its (rather small at the time) domestic network with 747s when nessecary. United did the same, although the 747s were especially prevelant to Hawaii, and the 741s and 742s still were up to their retirement in the 90s. Eastern flew leased Pan Am 747s on a variety of domestic routes for a short time, until they came to the same conclusion as Delta. Eastern had ordered, but then cancelled their own 747-125s. They ended up using the 747-121s leased from Pan Am. Pan Am itself used 747s almost exclusively on its transcontinental routes, and on other assorted pieces of their limited pre-National merger domestic route system. TWA used 747s for almost all it's domestic routes at some point. Braniff used their small fleet of 747s on their Hawaii routes extensively. Braniff's final flight, which occured after the airline had ceased to exist, HNL-DFW, was operated by the crew as a goodwill gesture so the passengers wouldn't be stranded in Hawaii (not that that's bad  Wink/being sarcastic ) Why doesn't this occur today? Fragmentation. The 747s flew almost all transcontinental routes at the time which basically consisted of NYC/WAS/Airline's Eastern Hub-LAX/SFO/Airline's Western Hub. That's it. There was nothing smaller until the L.1011 and DC-10 showed up, and these aircraft weren't exactly small either. It also took the big original DC-10/L.1011 customers (AA, UA, EA, TW, DL) almost a decade to build up their huge fleets of the trijets. The 747's domestic dominance was over by 1980. AA's 747 was shrinking, and focused on routes in SJU. DL's were gone, replaced by L10s.. NW had replaced them with DC-10-40s primarily. UA had consolidated them to Hawaii and international flying, with the DC-10 picking up the reigns. EA had returned their tiny fleet to PA, and was operating the routes with L10s. PA continued to use them, but ex-National DC-10s and Pan Am-ordered L.1011s took over the flying soon after. They later yielded to A300s and A310s. TWA focused domestic widebody flying on the L.1011, and Braniff would shudder out of existance in 1982. That same year, the first 767s arrived to the most ambitious buyers of the comparably tiny widebodies, AA, DL, and UA. The process of fragmentation that that airplane initated brought transcon service to EA / KSEA), USA - Washington">SEA, SAN, SJC, PHX, PDX, BOS, PHL, MIA, etc. It spread to international flying, and was continued by the 777 and A330/340.


User currently offlineCoronado From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 1177 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3949 times:
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I have to agree that JAL management must have some vestiges in their brain patterns on what NWA taught them in the 1950's and early 60's because the JAL fleet remains as interesting as the NWA fleet.

Maintain, refurbish, repaint but don't throw away perfectly good metal just because some Boeing or Airbus salesman is pushing for a trade in!

John



The Original Coronado: First CV jet flights RG CV 990 July 1965; DL CV 880 July 1965; Spantax CV990 Feb 1973
User currently offlineSpacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3629 posts, RR: 12
Reply 16, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 3820 times:

Does this only pertain to the Asian market, Or do other carriers use 747's domestically?

Only Asian as far as I know (not strictly Japanese, as Malaysian also uses 747's occasionally on domestic routes, at least... others might as well). Nowhere else really has the population density to support domestic 747 use.

In Japan, airlines complain that the 747 isn't big enough for domestic use. The A380 will be used on some of the routes currently being served by 747-400D's.

I'm sure there are more 747's in Asia than in any other region, both for domestic and international use. Many of the international routes they're used on are actually very short; Seoul-Tokyo, for example, equivalent to New York-Chicago. Narita Airport is almost nothing but 747's; even all-domestic Haneda is pretty packed with them.



I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
User currently offlineCarpethead From Japan, joined Aug 2004, 2954 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 3689 times:

Hello all.
Although, not new to this site, this is my first post.
I seem to notice that there is a severe lack of Japanese on this site, so not many are experts in this unique market. Not that I am all that of an expert.
For fans of 747/777/763, Japan or more specifically Tokyo Haneda (HND) is the place to be. There will be plenty of heavies in Tokyo Narita (AA), Japan">NRT) as well. Narrowbody aircraft are the rarity here in Japan.
First, why does Japan require widebody aircraft on such short routes? This is because of the lack of runways at busy airports (AA), Japan">NRT & HND). Therefore, with the limited number of slots, the aircraft just has to get bigger. However, the sight of 747s on one/two hours sights will probably stop at end of this decade or early next. HND is planning to construct a fourth runway that will allow two runways each for arrivals and departures, so the slot limitation will practically be eliminated and the biggest aircraft may just be 777s for those heavily traveled routes such as HND-CTS, HND-ITM, & HND-FUK.
To get back on the topic, JAL tends to be on the conservative side and the developments of HND are one of the reasons it is holding off any major purchases plus not being in the black in the finances doesn't help. They have a hodgepodge of aircraft even before the JAS merger. Yes, they do operate some old aircraft such as 747-200 dating before 1980, but the 747-146B posted before was manufactured in 1984, so it's just as old as those initial 762s DL, AA, & UA operate. Of course, that aircraft has an insane amount of cycles compared to a relatively aged 747s. With the aircraft now 20 years of age which is about the right time for it to retire soon.


User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6485 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 3661 times:

Carpethead:

Does that explain why ANA (and presumably JAL) are content to go the 7E7/777/747 route, rather than the 777/747/A380 route?



When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' T.Roosevelt
User currently offlineSpacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3629 posts, RR: 12
Reply 19, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 3527 times:

ANA will definitely buy the A380 unless they know something we don't about Boeing's plans (and they very well may). The fact is ANA has been bugging Boeing to make a bigger plane for a long time and Airbus beat them to it. ANA needs that bigger plane, though, whoever makes it.

ANA is probably still working back rooms at Boeing telling them to either build a bigger 747 or they're going to go with Airbus (they do have a relationship with Airbus - they're an A319/20/21 customer). Meanwhile, they publicly make conflicting statements about the A380 in order to string both manufacturers along - they don't want to alienate Airbus too much, but they also still want to press Boeing.

The additional runway and terminal at Haneda will help but I don't know how much - Haneda is really overpacked as it is with a whole lot of extra pent-up demand in addition so it may just finally allow airlines to catch up with existing demand. And in any case, it's only one airport - it's like saying Delta would be able to stop flying the 767-400 if only La Guardia had another runway. Narita's got runway problems of its own, remember, and many major airports in Japan only have one runway.

ANA has said they will stick with the 747 for 10 years. Which says to me if there's no other alternative by then, they will go with the A380. And I doubt it will really be that long - that's probably just public posturing to get the best deal possible from Airbus (as in, "if you take delivery in 5 years instead of 10, we'll knock 10% more off the price").

Both JAL and ANA will need to go with whatever the biggest aircraft available is that they can get the best deal on for at least some routes, including international routes (ANA's NRT-JFK service is always completely packed, I know from experience, and no extra runway at Haneda is going to remedy this). Maybe Boeing's practically giving 747's away to them, who knows. If not, though, I think the A380 will be in both ANA and JAL's plans eventually (I actually thought it already was when I made my earlier post... I guess I just assumed). Airbus made the A380 with JAL and ANA in mind so I'm sure they'll do whatever they have to do in order to get a few in these two airlines' hands. Obviously this is the last thing Boeing wants, so we'll see what they do.

The 7E7 order from ANA is a relatively safe order for them and will replace their fleet of 767's; they're not buying 7E7's instead of A380's.

ANA has also said they'd like to standardize on just two of their current fleet models eventually too, most likely the 7E7 and 777. Read between the lines and what this is really saying is they're eventually going to phase out the current 747's. Which means there's going to have to be another super-jumbo in their plans to replace it (which could also be a new 747 advanced model). They just can't possibly service all of their routes on just two models; neither can JAL, for that matter.



I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
User currently offlineJAL From Canada, joined Apr 2000, 5085 posts, RR: 8
Reply 20, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 3470 times:

Some of JAL's fleet may be old but they're very well maintained and are quite safe.


Work Hard But Play Harder
User currently offlineYUL332LX From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 820 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 3418 times:

In Japan, airlines complain that the 747 isn't big enough for domestic use. The A380 will be used on some of the routes currently being served by 747-400D's.

Not with JL. The A380 for domestic operations is not in JL’s plans. They have stated on numerous occasions in the last months that they were now focusing on frequency rather than capacity. According to Mr. Kaneko, the convenience of a smaller plane is better. Now, this statement brings another matter: how bad is the traffic congestion at Haneda or even Narita and others?

That said, JL is considering the A380 for long international operations but right now, the focus is clearly on the 744/772-3ER. It wouldn't be surprising if JL ordered another 8 to 10 773ER shortly and with Boeing now getting more serious about the 747A, the A380 might never make it in JL’s colours!  Crying



E volavo, volavo felice più in alto del sole, e ancora più su mentre il mondo pian piano spariva lontano laggiù ...
User currently offlineBa319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8546 posts, RR: 54
Reply 22, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 3355 times:
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As a side not on the earlier 'asian' domestic runs,Air China fly 744's on domestic routes.


111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineSpacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3629 posts, RR: 12
Reply 23, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3303 times:

Now, this statement brings another matter: how bad is the traffic congestion at Haneda or even Narita and others?

It's impossible at Haneda. Narita is also slot-limited because of the runway situation and a lack of terminal space, and there's at the moment nothing that can be done about Narita's runways. Narita is all long-haul, though, so it's not like they'd be going to RJ's there if they could.

Haneda'd probably be a different story and there are already smaller planes flying out of Haneda. But it's totally at capacity as far as I know. JAL's comments about frequency of service aren't at all surprising though, given their purchase of JAS. I believe the JAS routes and fleet probably satisfy that requirement, though; this is a segment of the business they were not really previously in (JAS was basically a domestic LCC). I wouldn't think they'd be replacing their MD-80's with A380's - but eventually they will replace their 747's with something and given the traffic density and airport constraints they are just not going to be able to go smaller on many of those routes.



I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
User currently offlineTokyoNarita From Palau, joined Aug 2003, 570 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3275 times:

It's impossible at Haneda.

It's possible. New terminal scheduled to open in December and new runway construction plan is underway for 2009 opening. Recent ANA's 7E7 order has very much to do with this.

so it's not like they'd be going to RJ's there if they could

Both JAL and ANA are taking advantages of the short runway at Narita and have their codeshare agreements for some CRJ200s and F50s operating domestic routes to Sendai, Osaka, Hiroshima, Sapporo, and Nagoya from Narita by J-Air, Fair Inc and NAL.

TokyoNarita.


25 YUL332LX : New terminal scheduled to open in December and new runway construction plan is underway for 2009 opening. This is a well-needed 4th runway but I wonde
26 BandA : Having flown on JAL's both 743 and 744's I must say that I will miss the 743's especially on their MEX-YVR-NRT route... generous leg-room compared to
27 TokyoNarita : QUESTION: I have noticed that on their online schedule JAL has changed the NRT-DEL equipment from M11 to 777, any idea if these are the new 773ER's? N
28 BandA : TokyoNarita THANKS FOR THE REPLY!!! 777-200ER aint bad... one more QUESTION any idea if these workhorse has PTV's (MAGIC or AVOD) in Y class?
29 Post contains images KLM747 : I flew on the 777-200ER (JA705J) a while back and it has MAGIC III AVOD. It is a really nice aircraft. William
30 BandA : KLM747, that would be awesome... I have noticed that the NRT-DEL route is just like the YVR-NRT route... considered "leisure" and they usually end up
31 Carpethead : If plans for the fourth runway at HND come to fruition, everybody can forget the argument for an A380 Domestic. The capacity will not be needed and JL
32 BandA : Sorry, not trying to doubt anyones knowledge about this but... Can someone close to JAL or working with JAL please confirm that there is indeed some s
33 Carpethead : All 777-246ERs are fitted with PTV as well as most 747-446, 777-346ER, 767-346ER (only ER - don't know about -300s that are on int'l service), and som
34 Nz1 : We have a JA 742-JT9 powered coming to AKL for a C check shortly. The rego has slipped my mind at the moment, but I know it was built in 1979, so yes,
35 RayChuang : JL's fleet is generally admired for its quality maintanence work done by JL mechanics, especially since they learned that lesson from the horrible tra
36 Fokker50 : I think that is becay¡use JAL is to conservative, so they think that they will use this aircraft more than other ailines. They also think that they w
37 BandA : are they planning on doing something witht he 747 classics used on the NRT-MEX-YVR routes? also anyone here that can tell me if their 772's atleast ha
38 ZK-NBT : are they planning on doing something witht he 747 classics used on the NRT-MEX-YVR routes? I read on this board that that service will change to a 744
39 BandA : are they planning on doing something witht he 747 classics used on the NRT-MEX-YVR routes? I read on this board that that service will change to a 744
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