JAL targets overseas flight hubs as key to expansion


Japan Airlines Corp. plans to add multiple overseas flight hubs each year through fiscal 2016 to expand its international routes on the back of its new fuel-efficient 787 Dreamliners.

“We would like to select a number of hubs annually,” JAL President Yoshiharu Ueki said Thursday during a trip to the United States, adding that cities in Myanmar and China that are projected to see rapid growth are among the candidates. The airline is also considering resuming services to the Indonesian resort island of Bali, Ueki added.

JAL is planning to add Boston and two other destinations to its international operations this year, under a midterm business plan it drew up in February to boost transportation capacity in fiscal 2016 by 25 percent, compared to fiscal 2011 levels.

On to the criteria JAL will use to determine whether to resume certain routes, Ueki said the key factor “is whether we would be able to operate flights profitably.”

JAL will start flying the midsize Dreamliners on a new service linking Tokyo and Boston from Sunday. The jets consume around 20 percent less fuel than similar size conventional aircraft.

Inamori would help JAL


Kazuo Inamori, honorary chairman of Japan Airlines Corp., has voiced a willingness to support the company as an outside director after retiring from his post next year.

In an interview Thursday, Inamori said he plans to resign by the first half of 2013. He was appointed chairman in February 2010 and has lead the carrier’s turnaround since it filed for bankruptcy protection that January.

But Inamori said he hopes to continue advising the company if its management and shareholders decide to call on him.

He also expressed his hopes that domestic companies will buy equity stakes in JAL, which is hoping to be relisted on the Tokyo Stock Exchange this autumn, as its plans to tap U.S. and European partners have hit a snag. Inamori did not elaborate on the potential timing of a relisting, however.