JAL to cancel Kona flight; will launch new Honolulu flight - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

JAL to cancel Kona flight; will launch new Honolulu flight

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

TOKYO (Hawaii News Now) - Japan Airlines has posted its plans for fall flights, including new service from Haneda to Honolulu and cancellation of flights to Kona.

JAL said it will also switch to newer jets on several other Hawaii routes, especially those from Osaka and Nagoya, reducing capacity because the newer planes have fewer seats.

The global plans announced online Wednesday include closure of JAL offices in Bali, Rome, Milan, Amsterdam and Sao Paulo. The airline said it is aiming for a quick reorganization.

JAL used to be a national airline and tended to behave like one for years after it was privatized. Airline industry analysts said JAL was overstaffed and served unprofitable markets.

Since entering bankruptcy last year JAL has been under new management which has taken a hard look at all of its routes worldwide.

JAL's nonstop flights to Kona will continue through the summer but will end on Oct. 30, the airline said.

It's a loss for state and Big Island tourism officials who offered marketing funds and other ideas to try to persuade JAL to maintain the route.

On some days the JAL flight to Kona made the difference whether Hawaii County visitor arrivals topped 1,000 or not.

JAL also said it would switch aircraft on Hawaii routes from Osaka and Nagoya - changing from planes that seat 176 passengers to planes that seat 144.

And it said it would take advantage of early morning and late night slots at Tokyo's close-in Haneda airport to launch a new daily flight to Honolulu.

Current flights to Hawaii start at Narita, which is well away from downtown Tokyo. A flight that starts from Haneda will significantly reduce transportation hassle for Japanese vacationers who start from other cities and fly to Tokyo to catch a flight to Hawaii.

Hawaiian Airlines, which took delivery Wednesday on the first of its new Airbus jets, has applied for flight slots at Haneda for the same reason.

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