Zipair will become the first low-cost carrier to operate trans-Pacific flights, as it announces Los Angeles as its “much-anticipated” inaugural long-haul destination.
The low-cost unit of Japan Airlines will commence thrice-weekly flights between Tokyo Narita and Los Angeles from 25 December.
Flights will be operated with the airline’s Boeing 787-8 aircraft, configured to seat up to 290 passengers in two classes. Each 787 has 18 Jamco-supplied full-flat business seats and 272 economy seats from Recaro.
Los Angeles is the airline’s second North American destination, after it launched Honolulu in December 2020.
The announcement on 12 November comes as borders around the world begin to gradually reopen. Japan, which still remains shut out to general travellers, has eased travel restrictions for students and business travellers.
Says Zipair president Shingo Nishida: “Ever since the introduction of Zipair, one of our key goals was to establish a flight across the Pacific and I could not be prouder to stand here today to announce the launch of our Los Angeles route.”
As early as February 2020, right before the coronavirus pandemic turned the world on its head, Zipair had already floated the prospect of flying trans-Pacific flights.
Plans had to be put on hold subsequently, amid growing travel restrictions. Zipair subsequently launched operations with cargo-only flights in the middle of 2020, before operating its first passenger flight to Seoul Incheon in October.
Japan Airlines had previously stated that its low-cost units — which also include Jetstar Japan and Spring Japan — will play an important role in travel recovery.