Andrzej Jeziorski/SINGAPORE

Japan Airlines (JAL) is restructuring its services in anticipation of the opening of Inchon airport in Seoul, South Korea, and the changing business environment. The changes have been revealed in JAL's route and fleet plan for the 2001 financial year.

"Significant developments during the period will be the expected opening in late March 2001 of the new Inchon airport in Seoul. In 2002 a second runway will open at Tokyo's Narita Airport and JAL also anticipates an expansion of slots at [mainly domestic] Haneda airport," says the airline. It adds that it expects rapid changes in the airline industry business environment within the next two years, including a fall in fuel prices and the anticipated slowdown of the US economy.

JAL's plan incorporates a big increase in services to Seoul from Osaka-Kansai, Nagoya, Hiroshima and Komatsu, while flights from Fukuoka to Pusan are being suspended. Three extra weekly frequencies are being introduced from Osaka and Hiroshima, alongside four extra frequencies from Nagoya and one from Komatsu.

Some US services are being reduced slightly, with Osaka-Chicago cut from five to four a week, and the reversal of the previous year's July-to-September increase in Tokyo-Los Angeles frequencies from eight to nine.

The airline plans to add an extra Boeing 747 freighter to its fleet for the high-demand period between September and December. JAL Cargo will add one frequency to the US West Coast and one between Tokyo and Frankfurt, as well as introducing new Osaka-Anchorage-Los Angeles services and a once-weekly Osaka-Hong Kong flight. It will also reorganise some routes in line with the expansion of its codeshare with Northwest Cargo.

On the domestic front, JAL is responding to pressure by suspending routes, transferring some services from Boeing 767s to Boeing 737s, and transferring 11 daily flights on six different domestic routes to lower-cost subsidiaries Japan Transocean Air (JTA), JAL Express and J-Air.

Fleet planning includes the introduction of two Bombardier CRJ200s into J-Air's fleet, the addition of one 747-400 and the retirement of one 747-200 and one 747 freighter at JAL. JTA will also complete its fleet upgrade, replacing its last four Boeing 737-200s with 737-400s, making a fleet of 15 of the newer aircraft.

• JAL has agreed to acquire the remaining 20% of its JALways subsidiary. The deal will be complete by mid-March.

Source: Flight International