• Kyodo News


Japan Airlines Corp. aims to expand its overseas operations in the 2007 business year starting in April now that fare increases and a round of restructuring have produced significant results, company sources said Wednesday.

JAL plans to increase the number of flights on its Tokyo-New York route to 13 a week, and add four flights to its current 10 weekly flights between Tokyo and Paris.

Strengthening business ties between Japan and China and growing tourist traffic have spurred the carrier’s talks with Chinese aviation authorities. JAL is negotiating for an increase in flights between Osaka and Hangzhou to three per week from the current two, and for more flights between Tokyo and Beijing.

Flights to Zurich, which used to operate in summer, will be terminated and service between Narita and Hong Kong will also be cut back, but the total number of international flights will increase, according to the sources.

The carrier will also make more use of smaller planes to improve efficiency.

The flight increase will be incorporated into JAL’s medium-term business plan to be announced Feb. 6, the sources said.

In view of the recent rise in earnings at the international flight division, JAL is looking to expand, following cutbacks in its international operations over the past couple of years. JAL’s international traffic had suffered due to fears over terrorism and the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome in Asia.

In response, the airline cut six low-margin routes, including flights between Fukuoka and Honolulu, and between Tokyo and Saipan in October 2005. It also canceled service between Osaka and Los Angeles, and a Tokyo-Las Vegas flight in 2006.

JAL plans to continue reducing domestic flights in the 2007 business year, ending flights between Tokyo and about a dozen regional cities, the sources said.

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