ANA, JAL dial back domestic networks after latest COVID-19 spike

The Japanese carriers had expected to be back to 75% of pre-pandemic capacity in January. 

All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL), Japan’s two major carriers, are significantly cutting back their domestic flight schedules for January because of a new spike in COVID-19 cases in the country.

A resurgence in the pandemic in Tokyo saw daily infections reaching new highs for Japan last week. This led the government to reimpose a state of emergency for the Tokyo region on Jan. 8, and it is expected to expand it to other areas.

Under this directive, people are urged to stay home, and restaurants and bars are asked to close early. Japan’s domestic airline traffic had been rebuilding strongly until recently, but the latest outbreak has stalled the recovery.

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JAL had previously planned to operate 74% of its pre-COVID flights in January, but it has now cut this back to 56% for the second half of January and 60% for the full month. Most of the flights affected are into and out of Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND).

ANA has taken similar measures. The carrier plans to operate 56% of its domestic flights between Jan. 15 and Jan. 31, and 66% for the full month. This compares to its planned operational rate of 77% for January. The carrier will announce its plan for February operations on Jan. 14.

Photo credit: Nigel Howarth / Aviation Week