IATA: Regional renewal next part of JAL's fleet plan

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The Japan Airlines group will soon look at options to replace its turboprops and regional jets as part of its wider fleet replacement plans.

“What we need to look at is not only the smaller regional jets, but also we do have our share of propeller aircraft that serve regional markets and we need to look at them in the near future,” says chairman Masaru Onishi on the sidelines of the IATA AGM in Doha.

JAL’s regional units operate nine Bombardier CRJ200s and 15 Embraer 170 regional jets, as well as Dash 8s and Saab 340B turboprops.

JAL has previously indicated that it would be open to adding more Embraer aircraft to the fleet, but had shown little appetite for the Mistubishi Regional Jet.

Rival carrier All Nippon Airways is the launch customer for the MRJ, and is scheduled to receive its first of the type in the second quarter of 2017.

Onishi adds that the airline is not looking to order the 737 Max or A320neo to replace its 737-800s in the near term, as they “still have working life left in them.”

JAL subsidiary Japan Transocean Air recently firmed up an order for 12 737-800s that will be delivered from 2016.

On the widebody front, JAL is in the process of taking delivery of 45 787s that will replace its 767 fleet.

Last year it also broke its long-standing allegiance to Boeing last year, placing an order for 31 Airbus A350s that will eventually replace its 777s.