JAL Launches First Dedicated Cargo Aircraft in 13 Years in Collaboration with DHL to Capture Cross-Border E-Commerce Demand

Japan Airlines (JAL) launched its operation of a dedicated cargo aircraft, a converted Boeing 767-300ER (Boeing 767-300BCF), on February 19. This marks the first introduction of a dedicated cargo aircraft for JAL in about 13 years, initially servicing short-haul routes in Asia.

After the management bankruptcy in 2010, JAL withdrew from the freighter business at the end of October of the same year, retiring all of its up to 14 owned dedicated cargo aircraft. However, with the global surge in logistics demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, JAL “rerecognized the importance of aviation transportation as social infrastructure” and announced its re-entry into the freighter business in its May 2023 mid-term management plan rolling plan. Of its 27 owned (including 11 leased) 767-300ERs, three will be converted to use as 767-300BCF.

On February 19, JAL launched the Tokyo/Narita-Taipei/Taoyuan-Nagoya/Chubu-Seoul/Incheon-Tokyo/Narita route, and from March 1, after the introduction of the second aircraft, it will also serve the Tokyo/Narita-Nagoya/Chubu-Shanghai/Pudong-Tokyo/Narita route. By fiscal year 2025, it plans to operate three aircraft, eventually aiming to increase utilization rates and maximize cargo load factors by operating on domestic routes as well. The airline also plans to set up charter and extra flights according to customer needs.

▲JAL Cargo and Mail Headquarters Yuichiro Kito (left), DHL Japan President Tony Khan

In anticipation of re-entering the freighter business, JAL signed a long-term partnership contract with DHL Express in December 2023. The aim is to transport a designated amount of cargo collected by DHL Express and capture the rapidly growing cross-border e-commerce transportation demand in East Asia.

The first 767-300BCF model, JA653J, completed its modifications first and arrived at Narita Airport from Singapore’s Paya Lebar on January 17. It was revealed to the media on February 8. The upper cargo compartment can hold 24 pallets (up to 32 tons), and the lower compartment can hold 3 pallets and 9 containers (up to 16 tons), with a flight range of 10,460 km. The aircraft is painted in the standard white with the crane circle, like passenger planes, with all cabin windows sealed and the “JAL CARGO” logo on the front part of the Fuselage. Doors other than the crew and cargo handlers’ entrance on the front left side (“L1”) are sealed and made inoperable.

In a ceremony held at Narita Airport, Yuichiro Kito, head of JAL’s Cargo and Mail Headquarters, explained that the expansion of logistics demand during the three years of the COVID-19 pandemic made cargo transportation an indispensable part of everyday life, which was one of the triggers for re-entering the freighter business. “We are confident that by growing the air cargo business sustainably, we can advance the group’s business structure reform,” he commented.

The inaugural flight, JL6719 from Tokyo/Narita to Taipei/Taoyuan, was fully loaded with approximately 50 tons of fresh produce, electronic components, and e-commerce goods. The flight was seen off by over 100 JAL employees and stakeholders, departing from Narita Airport’s Spot 201 at 3:33 PM and took off from Runway A at 3:58 PM.

JL6719 Tokyo/Narita (15:50) to Taipei/Taoyuan (18:55) / Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri (until March 30)
JL6718 Taipei/Taoyuan (21:00) to Nagoya/Chubu (00:40+1) / Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri (until March 30)
JL6749 Nagoya/Chubu (02:10) to Seoul/Incheon (04:25) / Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat (until March 30)
JL6750 Seoul/Incheon (05:55) to Tokyo/Narita (08:15) / Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat (until March 30)

JL6783 Tokyo/Narita (22:00) to Nagoya/Chubu (23:20) / Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri (March 1-30)
JL6783 Nagoya/Chubu (00:40) to Shanghai/Pudong (02:40) / Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat (March 1-30)
JL6784 Shanghai/Pudong (04:15) to Tokyo/Narita (08:10) / Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun (March 1-30)
JL6785 Tokyo/Narita (22:55) to Shanghai/Pudong (01:40+1) / Sat (March 1-30)

This article was generated using automatic translation by GPT-4 API.
The translation may not be accurate.