Japan Air Lines plans to accelerate efficiency improvements across the airline including a reduction of up to 10 aircraft in its fleet acquisition planning.

Measures in the new"strategic business plan" include:

achievement of a 10% cost reduction is to be brought forward from March 2002 to March 2001; putting board members up for re-election annually instead of every two years; enforcing wider use of information technology by the sales organisation, targeting individual travel- lers more, and making fares more reactive to market conditions; expanding the cargo network, and creating more partnerships to improve yield; cutting unprofitable routes and improving aircraft utilisation, leading to a cut in the calculated fleet needs of "up to 10 aircraft"; making more use of operating leases and short-term leases from other carriers; re-capitalisation to cut down on interest payments; increasing planned ground staff cuts from 1,500 to 2,300 by the year 2001; and hiring more non-Japanese flightcrew and cabin crew and having them based overseas. "Varied systems of employment and working formats will be introduced to achieve the optimum crew combination," JAL says.

JAL's first-half operating profits slumped by 24% at ´27.7 billion ($233 million), compared to a profit of ´36.7 billion made in the 1997 first half.

Source: Flight International