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
flight returns as a daylight operation and has a ground time in HKG
of 1h55 (arr.1130/dep.1325); Lufthansa's thrice weekly MUC
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
, 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.