Japan Airlines (JAL) relaunched non-stop flights between Tokyo’s Narita International Airport and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on November 30, 2015 after a 14-year absence with news that it already plans to boost frequencies on the route. The airline is initially offering a four times weekly schedule but plans to increase to a daily service from March 20, 2016.
The Japanese flag carrier previously served Dallas up until late 2001 when it ended its previous operation from Tokyo. This was flown using a McDonnell Douglas MD-11 trijet, but the current link is being flown by a more efficient twin-engined Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, which is understood to have played a key role in the resurrection of this link.
JAL operates alongside its oneworld alliance partner American Airlines on the city pair and bring their combined departures between Tokyo and Dallas to 16 a week, growing to a three times daily offering from next spring. Dallas is the carrier’s eighth gateway in North America and our fourth US service launch in just over three years.
“By making full use of the efficiencies of the Dreamliner as well as capitalizing on our even stronger relationship with American Airlines, we are confident this resumed service will provide even more valuable links for commercial and cultural exchanges for our customers in both regions and beyond,” said Yoshiharu Ueki, President, Japan Airlines.
Through the oneworld Transpacific joint business partnership this growth in capacity between Tokyo and Dallas will not only support the growing point-to-point demand but will also act as a bridge between Asia and the Americas. JAL serves 55 destinations within Japan and another 37 international destinations, while American offers connections to more than 200 destinations via DFW Airport.
"We're excited to welcome Japan Airlines back to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport with their Dreamliner service to Tokyo," said Sean Donohue, Chief Executive Officer, DFW Airport. "Japan Airlines is known for providing an exceptional level of customer service, and it is the same kind of service that DFW seeks to provide to its customers. We know that Dallas will be a convenient mid-continent gateway for travellers from Japan to the United States and Latin America."
The planned growth from JAL follows just over a week after Qantas Airways announced it will increase its Dallas Fort Worth to Sydney service from six flights a week to a daily schedule, starting April 2016. Qantas utilises the Airbus A380 Super Jumbo on the route, which is currently the longest scheduled passenger flight in the world. With the increase to a daily service, Qantas will now offer over 3300 seats weekly between Dallas and Sydney.
"We are delighted that Qantas is adding a seventh weekly frequency to their popular DFW to Sydney service," said John Ackerman, Executive Vice President for Global Strategy and Development at DFW Airport. "The Qantas A380 service going daily a testament to the strength of the DFW market, and it is vitally important to business and leisure customers because it offers them more choices and additional convenience."
In the past ten years, DFW Airport has expanded its focus on international destinations by enhancing its amenities, attracting 12 new international carriers and 22 new international destinations. JAL’s return means it will be the 14th international carrier to utilise the airport’s International Terminal D. Today, the Airport hosts routes to 149 domestic and 58 international destinations and serves 64 million passengers annually, including seven million international customers.
According to MIDT data, over 335,000 passengers flew on the American Airlines flights between Tokyo and Dallas last year, the highest recorded level since the start of the Century and up 11.0 per cent on 2013. The data from Sabre shows that the US major has seen increasing passenger loads on its flights reach a high of an estimated 89 per cent on Dallas departures and 93 per cent on flights from Tokyo in 2014. However, this has come at a significant cost to yields which are understood to have halved since the late 2000s.
Looking more closely at the segment traffic in 2014 and it becomes clear the important role connections at both end of the routes and the Transpacific partnership between JAL and American Airlines helps sustain this route.
Last year just 7.9 per cent of passengers flying on the route could be defined as local point-to-point traffic with connections at just Dallas accounting for around 31.6 per cent of demand; connections just via Tokyo accounting for 16.3 per cent and bridge traffic connecting at both sides of the route a significant 44.3 per cent.
On the Americas side of the route the US market accounted for 79.2 per cent of the origin and destination passengers flying between Dallas and Tokyo and after DFW Airport, Austin, Houston, Miami and Orlando where the largest markets. American Airlines’ strong links into Mexico made it the second largest country market (9.9 per cent share), followed by Brazil, Peru and Chile.
On the Asia side of the route the Japanese market accounted for 49.5 per cent of the origin and destination passengers flying between Dallas and Tokyo and after Narita, Osaka, Nagoya, Okinawa and Fukuoka where the largest markets. Thanks to the JAL connecting network Vietnam is the second largest country market (12.7 per cent share), followed by South Korea, Philippines and Taiwan.