Topic Author
Posts: 1062
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 11:14 pm

Japan-Europe Night Flights

Mon Feb 28, 2005 7:11 pm

Is the Air France flight AF277 NRT-CDG 2155-0435+1 the only direct flight from Japan to Europe which leaves in the evening and lands the next morning?

There are plenty of night flights from HKG, which is about the same distance and time zone, so why not more from Japan? 10+ hours during the day gets quite boring...
AY and ANA rock!
Posts: 4044
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2000 1:09 am

RE: Japan-Europe Night Flights

Mon Feb 28, 2005 8:14 pm

The problem with overnight operations from Japan, Korea and Hongkong to Europe is that they typically lead to extended ground times in Asia, and therefore bring down the aircraft utilization rates and increase parking and terminal fees.

In order for a Europe-bound flight to arrive early in the morning after an overnight flight from Japan, this flight should leave Japan late in the evening. However, the inbound flight from Europe typically arrives in Japan in the late morning or afternoon hours. As the ground time would be too long, thereby jeopardizing utilization rates, and airports in Japan are typically very expensive when it comes to parking and terminal fees, the airlines prefer to return to Europe after minimal ground times and on a daylight operation.

As such almost all flights from Japan and Korea to Europe are operated as daylight flights. Even from Hongkong, airlines like KLM and Lufthansa, and when they still flew there Alitalia, operate according to operational patterns whereby they leave Europe in the late afternoon and arrive in Hongkong in the morning, make a quick turnaround and return to Europe as a daylight operation. The same operating pattern goes for many Europe-China flights.

If airlines choose to operate according to a double overnight pattern, they typically leave Europe in the evening, arrive in Asia in the early afternoon, and depart again late in the evening for an early arrival in Europe. In such cases, unless the airline operates an additional tag-on within Asia, the aircraft will be on the ground for anywhere between 4 and 10 hours, which is obviously not a desirable solution.

As an example, look at Lufthansa's Hongkong operation: the daily FRA-HKG flight returns as a daylight operation and has a ground time in HKG of 1h55 (arr.1130/dep.1325); Lufthansa's thrice weekly MUC-HKG operates according to a double overnight pattern and has a ground time of 7h35(arr.15.50/dep.2325).

Now, as for your Air France example, the airline keeps ground time at Tokyo down by leaving CDG very late in the evening and arrive NRT the next evening. It leaves NRT after almost 3 hours of ground time (arr.1900/dep.2155), which is still rather long and thus costly (NRT ground crews will turn around any widebody within 1h45 max), and arrives in Europe very early in the morning at 04.35, an arrival time which is far from commercially interesting. A more optimal arrival time at CDG would demand a departure from NRT around midnight, just as is the case at HKG and other airports in the region like SIN, BKK and KUL, which would lead to increased ground time at NRT and problems with the airport's night curfew.

All in all, it never ceases to amaze me how people keep on moaning about daylight operations from Asia to Europe and how overnight flights on this sector tend to be better booked than daylight flights. Note that flights between Europe and the West Coast of the US and Canada are equally long, operate according to the same operational patterns, and nobody seems to care about the long daylight westbound flights.
Posts: 381
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2000 9:42 pm

RE: Japan-Europe Night Flights

Tue Mar 01, 2005 12:27 am

i still think that the AF model is quite smart, even if it leads to almost 3 hours of ground time at NRT for the evening return flight.

at present one has to stay overnight in TYO with usually an idle morning in order to make it to NRT in time (factor three hours departure from town before flight time, in order to be on the safe side), loosing the entire workday, by sitting on the pnae arriving in europe in the late afternoon - early evening.

with the AF flight at night one saves tons of time and i believe that AF is being rewarded from a utilization point of view (hopefully also from a yield point of view): when i flew with them on AF277, the flight was 100% packed in all three classes - also with plenty of connex traffic via CDG into other european destinations - granted that one will have another 2 - 3 hours of ground time at CDG in order to get onto the connexes, but i found the timing excellent.

maybe somebody can pull up AF's reservations system and see how well AF277 is booked in comparison to AF275 and 279 as well as the european competition
Posts: 5185
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2004 5:08 pm

RE: Japan-Europe Night Flights

Tue Mar 01, 2005 1:11 am

the AF evening flight is i believe originated in the Sth Pacific then onwards to Paris from NRT, only reason why it's a night flight is because of it's arrival enroute to CDG via NRT.

not sure if the flight still operates to and from the sth pacific or not though.

the major issue with overnight flights from NRT is the curfew, if they have tech delays the flight is pretty much stuffed til 6am, hence all day flights ex NRT and arvo arrivals or midmorning, most of it is due to curfew and thats most of the reason that they all depart by day.

[Edited 2005-02-28 17:18:26]
Posts: 2379
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 5:07 am

RE: Japan-Europe Night Flights

Tue Mar 01, 2005 7:28 am

I've done this NRT-CDG night flight and I have to say it was extremely convenient. I could get up late. Have a full day in Tokyo and a leisurely late evening trip to the airport. The check-in starts about 7.30pm and the terminal at this time is virtually empty meaning no queues anywhere and plenty of seats to spread out in.

Before this I was allergic to long haul night flights but the combination a non chaotic Narita airport in the evening and Air France cured me for ever.

and with that..cabin crew, seats for landing please.
Posts: 2587
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2004 8:15 pm

RE: Japan-Europe Night Flights

Tue Mar 01, 2005 7:49 am

As some have mentioned the curfew at NRT plus not sufficient difference in local departure to local arrival makes Japan/Korea-European flights worthwhile. There is sufficient local departure & local arrival for SE Asia-Europe flights to make this worthwhile and no curfews at these airports.

I know some who want to skimp out on one night of lodging in Europe to travel from Japan to Europe via HKG or SE Asia.
Posts: 297
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2000 8:12 am

RE: Japan-Europe Night Flights

Tue Mar 01, 2005 10:16 am

Air France no longer operates flights from the South Pacific to Tokyo. Aircalin and Air Tahiti Nui took over the routes from Noumea and Papeete, respectively.
Posts: 1503
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2004 5:54 am

RE: Japan-Europe Night Flights

Tue Mar 01, 2005 12:42 pm

This twilight express as they call it, calls an extra-routing.

That is, they fly a different route from the rest and fly for 14hr and 30 min. This I read about two years ago in a magazine. As a proof, other flights AF operate take 12.5 hr but this takes 14.5.

I would like to see what kind of routing this takes.

Does anybody know although the routing is different, the aircraft operates out of Sekiyado 4 departure, Niigata transition? I would imagine the tickets on this flight would be more expensive compared to others but I also read that it is very popular amongst pax.
Flown on: DC-10-30, B747-200B, B747-300, B747-300SR, B747-400, B747-400D, B767-300, B777-200, B777-200ER, B777-300
Posts: 1840
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2004 1:55 am

RE: Japan-Europe Night Flights

Tue Mar 01, 2005 12:48 pm

I think AF flies the same route as their other flights. The plane for the night flight flies much slower.

Is it economical to fly an 773 much slower than usual oin terms of saving fuel?
Posts: 1620
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2003 7:34 am

RE: Japan-Europe Night Flights

Tue Mar 01, 2005 5:42 pm

Actually the night flight of AF out of NRT does do very well!. Also because
the aircraft arrives very early morning (next day) many people are able to connect to most AF destinations.

Posts: 676
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 10:37 pm

RE: Japan-Europe Night Flights

Wed Mar 02, 2005 1:45 am

AF 277 connects with Air Calin A332 flight from Noumea (NOU), New Caledonia, 5 weekly. This flight arrives around 7pm in NRT.

In the past AF 277 was operating by a B744 flying NOU-NRT-CDG.
I tried it, very looonngg journey !
Posts: 2097
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 5:49 pm

RE: Japan-Europe Night Flights

Wed Mar 02, 2005 3:55 am

Just curious will the curfew at NRT have anything to do with mostly daylight departure from NRT as well? It seems like the last flight departed NRT around 10pm (last flight should be HNL + cargo flights), and any slight delay will result in the planes forced overnight at NRT and additional cost airlines.

Posts: 5230
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2003 1:38 am

RE: Japan-Europe Night Flights

Wed Mar 02, 2005 4:33 am


AF277 flies slower but also take the further north route to reach CDG.
AF doesn't fly anymore to NOU and PPT with its own planes from NRT. It codeshares with Air Calin & ATN on the NRT-PPT / NRT-NOU route.

AF277 is very popular and shows now the best load factors of all the AF's flights on the NRT-CDG route.

A third DAILY CDG-NRT-CDG will be added for the next season starting March 27th to face the demand. This 3rd daily flight should remain active in the next winter schedule.
Topic Author
Posts: 1062
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 11:14 pm

RE: Japan-Europe Night Flights

Fri Mar 04, 2005 1:00 am

In any case, I will definitely try to get myself on AF277 on my way back the next time I go to Japan (hopefully in Sep!). Who cares that it arrives 04:35 - that's 12:35 Japanese time so there will be plenty of sleep.  Smile
AY and ANA rock!

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos