Japanese Airways: The World’s Strangest Airline?

It has been fairly a while since I’ve written about Japanese Airways, which I take into account to be essentially the most uncommon “actual” airline on the planet. The airline is predicated in the USA and has over a dozen large physique jets, but does little or no with them. One way or the other the airline remains to be round, although…

What’s Japanese Airways?

Maybe a little bit of background can be helpful. To start with, it’s value acknowledging the historical past related to the title. Japanese was a significant airline again within the day (one of many “huge 4” airways on the time), and ceased operations in 1991.

In 2015 rights to the Japanese title have been bought, although that airline went out of enterprise inside a few years. Lastly in 2018 Dynamic Worldwide Airways (primarily a constitution operator) bought rights to the Japanese title, and that’s what modern-day Japanese is.

For these of you not acquainted with the present iteration of Japanese, the airline has a fleet of over a dozen Boeing 767s and 777s, all of which have been acquired secondhand. Right here’s what the airline claims its mission is:

“Our mission is to deliver again the sense of awe and marvel to air journey by offering underserved markets throughout the globe with direct, nonstop flights with the most effective worth.”

In concept the airline primarily operates routes between the USA and Latin America, and beneath is the routemap from Japanese’s web site.

Japanese Airways’ routemap (form of)

Whereas I can in concept admire the idea of working routes in underserved markets, the airline hasn’t really achieved a complete lot of that. Over the previous few years we’ve seen Japanese repeatedly announce routes, solely to cancel them earlier than launch:

  • The airline was presupposed to launch as soon as weekly Chicago to Sarajevo flights, however that by no means occurred
  • The airline was presupposed to launch 3x weekly New York to San Diego flights, however that by no means occurred
  • The airline was presupposed to launch 2x weekly New York to Jinan by way of Anchorage flights, however that by no means occurred
  • The airline was presupposed to launch 2x weekly New York to Los Cabos flights, however that by no means occurred

That’s solely a small sampling of the flights that Japanese was going to function, however didn’t find yourself following by means of on.

Am I the one one confused by Japanese?

The above is a few historical past on Japanese Airways, so what’s the present state of the airline? For some purpose I considered the airline this morning, and pulled up the web site.

In the mean time, Japanese’s solely route on the market is a as soon as month-to-month New York (JFK) to Guayaquil (GYE) route. Sure, as soon as month-to-month. That’s it. No different routes. The airline has 15 large physique jets, and one, as soon as month-to-month route. Hmmm…

Talking of Japanese’s fleet of 15 jets, how a lot flying have these planes been doing? Up to now a number of months, solely three of these planes have even operated any flights:

  • Japanese acquired 5 Boeing 777s in late 2020, however hasn’t operated a single flight with a single a kind of jets
  • Solely three Boeing 767s have operated flights in current months, with the registration codes N700KW, N703KW, and N705KW
  • It appears to me like nearly all of those flights have been navy charters, as routes have included Guam to Anchorage, El Paso to Camp Springs, Kuwait Metropolis to Portsmouth (by way of Shannon), and so on.

Does anybody wish to take a crack at what’s occurring right here? I imply, it is a actual airline, with actual airplanes. This isn’t World Ghana Airways. The airline has now for a number of years had a major fleet, but hasn’t been in a position to constantly and frequently function scheduled flights.

Quite the airline appears to have some random charters, whereas sustaining a extremely underutilized fleet. Personally I don’t actually see benefit to Japanese’s point-to-point enterprise mannequin, with out extra connectivity.

There’s additionally an enormous marketplace for constitution operators and moist lease agreements, and it looks as if the airline can be a lot better off pursuing that. Nevertheless, even there the airline appears to have very restricted enterprise.

Whereas I do know these planes have been bought for a fraction of what you’d pay for a brand new aircraft, that is nonetheless actual cash being spent. Who’s funding this, and the way is the airline nonetheless in enterprise?

Japanese Airways hasn’t but flown its Boeing 777s

Backside line

I can’t consider a stranger “actual” airline than Japanese. The US airline has a fleet of over a dozen large physique jets, but solely three of these planes have flown in any respect in current months, primarily for (presumably) navy charters. When it comes to scheduled flights, the airline is at present promoting tickets for a as soon as month-to-month flight between New York and Guayaquil.

Can anybody make sense of this, and when the opposite shoe will drop right here?

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