Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines partners with Kentucky Fried Chicken to serve ‘Air KFC’ meal up in the air

By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

Japan Airlines (JAL) has developed a reputation when it comes to collaborating with well-known consumer brands in order to add an extra touch to the onboard experience, a practice dubbed ‘Branded Brands’ by trendwatching.com.

Branded amenities
For example, JAL has recently launched partnerships with Shisheido to develop special in-flight menus to celebrate the 5th anniversary of its domestic First Class during December 2012, while a collaboration with Jean-Paul Hévin will see JAL serving macarons from the French master chocolatier in First Class and Business Class until January 2013. Meanwhile, passengers In Premium Economy are served icecream from artisan brand Dean & DeLuca.

In First Class, JAL offers passengers Bose noise-cancelling headphones, as well as pillows and an extra matrass pad that have been custom-made for the airline by Tempur. JAL’s upcoming ‘Sky Suite’ B777-300 aircraft will feature pillows and matrass pads made by Japanese specialty brand Airweave in First and Business, while the airline’s new 777s and B787 Dreamliners feature so-called ‘washlet’ toilets from Japanese sanitary brand TOTO.

For more on how airlines can improve the passenger experience by teaming up with well-known brands, see our article for the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX).

‘JAL AIR Series’
In recent years, JAL has also partnered with several Japanese fast food chains in order to recreate their signature dishes as in-flight meal and offer passengers a taste of Japan at 30,000 feet. Following earlier collaborations with local food chains such as Mosburger (AIR Mosburger), Yoshinoya (AIR Yoshinoya) and Edosei (AIR Nikuman), JAL has just announced its latest partnership with fastfood chain Kentucky Fried Chicken, the 7th collaboration in the ‘JAL AIR Series’.
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Japan Airlines goes private with ‘Sky Suites’ in Business Class

By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

Declared bankrupt in 2010 after a decade of losses, Japan Airlines (JAL) last week returned to the Tokyo stock exchange in a USD 8.5 billion IPO that followed a government-backed restructuring under which the airline shed more than a third of its jobs, persuaded its unionised pilots and staff to take big pay cuts, slashed pension payouts and retired older fuel-inefficient aircraft.

In the next five years, JAL aims to boost international capacity with 25 percent, as it contends with a shrinking population and new competition from low-cost carriers at home. Similar to local rival All Nippon Airways (ANA), JAL is banking on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner (of which it has received 4 so far, with more than 40 on order) for its expension.

JAL is also seeking to close the service gap with ANA, and – following years of underinvestment – just announced a massive upgrade of its international fleet. Called ‘New Sky’, the upgrade program will revamp seats in all cabins for the first time in 10 years, as well as introduce new catering concepts. JAL’s Business Class, however, is receiving the most extreme makeover.

‘Sky Suites’
Dubbed ‘JAL SKY SUITE’, the new seats will be the first time that JAL is installing full-flat beds in Business Class (even JAL’s new B787s still feature angled lie-flat seats). Says JAL’s VP Marketing Jun Kato, “We felt we were lagging behind other carriers where full-flat seats are standard.”

According to JAL, it wants passengers to “experience comfort and privacy similar to First Class” with its new Business product and the airline is installing an adapted version of B/E Aerospace’s ‘Super First Class’ seat for its Sky Suite. A luxury version of this B/E Aerospace seat is used as First Class seat by several other airlines. Despite a 2-3-2 layout, a staggered configuration allows each passenger to have direct and unobstructed aisle access.
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Japan Airlines teams up with local fast-food chains for onboard catering

Besides teaming up with electronic brands such as Apple, Samsung (tablets) and Bose (noise-cancelling headphones) in order to provide passengers with a better in-flight experience, a number of airlines also partnered with well-known coffee brands to give passengers their favourite cup of coffee up in the air. Examples include Starbucks coffee served on board flights by Alaska Airlines and Porter Airlines, Dunkin’ Donuts coffee on Jetblue, and freshly brewed cup of Nespresso for passengers in First Class on SWISS’ flights. Iberia, meanwhile, has sold sandwiches from Spanish chain Fast Good (co-owned by star chef Ferran Adria) as part of its paid catering offer. Now Japan Airlines (JAL) has come up with an innovative twist for its onboard menu by teaming up with well-know Japanese fast-food chains.

Air Yoshinoya
Japan Airlines has partnered with Yoshinoya – the largest chain of beef-bowl restaurants in Japan – to bring the chain’ trademark dish to passengers on select international flights. The campaign started on March 1st, 2012 and for three months passengers on JAL flights from Tokyo Narita to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London and Frankfurt in every cabin class are served an ”Air Yoshinoya box” – the JAL version of the establishment’s specialty beef-bowl.

Specially designed and packaged to be served onboard, the rice and beef have been placed in separate boxes, letting passengers put their own meals together just before they eat. Considering the lower humidity in the cabin, Air Yoshinoya also comes with more sauce so that customers taste the same succulence as the beef bowl served in shops, while the beef, ginger, shichimi (seven-flavored spice) and pickles served are just as customers would find in all Yoshinoya outlets in Japan.

‘Air Yoshinoya’ is offered in economy and premium economy as a second meal and as an à la carte option in the premium cabins. According to JAL. the in-flight meals were created to give travelers a taste of Yoshinoya restaurants, saying that “With Air Yoshinoya, customers will be delighted at the familiar taste of the well-loved beef bowl at several thousand meters in the air.” JAL expects to serve 75,000 meals during the three months of the offer.
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Japan Airlines second airline to receive the 787 Dreamliner

By Vivek Mayasandra, Take Flight Project

In September 2011, Boeing handed over the first keys of a 787 Dreamliner to Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA). This year, the other Japanese heavyweight, Japan Airlines, will be taking delivery of the aircraft in a fleet renewal and route restructuring effort. The 787 is a twin-aisle airplane that can accommodate between 210 and 250 passengers on distances up to 8,200 miles (15,200 km) – making it the only mid-size airplane capable of very long-range routes. The Dreamliner’s interior provides passengers a more spacious experience than on other twin-aisle planes, because of a ‘vaulted’ 8-foot ceiling and reshaped overhead luggage bins that drop down, while larger windows with electronic shades provide significantly more natural day light. Passenger comfort is further improved by maintaining air pressure at the equivalent of an altitude of 6,000 feet (1,800 meters) in comparison to 8,000 feet on previous aircraft, and higher levels of humidity.

787 deliveries
While the 787 is known to burn 20 percent less fuel than jetliners of a similar size, production of the plane has proven to be a challenge over recent years – mainly due to the fact that it’s the first large passenger jet to have more than half its structure made of lightweight composite material instead of aluminum. The ‘All Things 787’ blog reports that up until now, the pipeline of 787 production has been flowing into a quagmire, as Boeing has parked about 40 Dreamliners that require extensive rework at its Paine Field base. It’s only from March 2012 that the first 787s will be delivered straight from the production line without any need for rework. Boeing’ own forecasts expect to deliver between 35 and 42 787s in 2012, though analysts have projected a figure of up to 55 aircraft as a possibility.

Of the 55 787s it has on order, ANA has thus far received its first five aircraft. Other airlines that are likely to receive their first Dreamliner in 2012 include Air India (spring 2012), Qatar Airways, China Southern, Ethiopian Airlines (all mid-2012), Hainan Airlines (fall 2012) and LOT (end of 2012), as well as reportedly LAN, Royal Air Maroc and United Airlines. After launch customer ANA, the next operator of the 787 will be Japan Airlines (JAL), who expects to receive its first aircraft in March 2012.

JAL 787 passenger experience
The passenger experience on board the 787 has been a huge selling point for the plane, and many airlines have announced their intent to introduce onboard features and configurations. ANA’s 787s feature the airline’s ‘Inspiration of Japan’ experience, which was launched in early 2011. Similar to ANA’s low-density 158-seat configuration on international flights, JAL has opted for their 787s to hold 186-seats, which will include 42 business class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration and 144 economy class seats in a 2-4-2 configuration. In their 787 Executive Class cabin,  JAL will use its angled lie-flat SHELL FLAT NEO seats, which are currently used on 777-300ER routes to New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Jakarta.
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Thai Airways’ catering division launches ‘off-flight’ catering brand

‘Puff & Pie’ is a bakery chain owned by Thai Airways Catering. Until recently, the 81 outlets across Thailand primarily offered a wide range of bakery items and beverages served onboard Thai Airways (THAI) and produced by the airline’s catering facilities. THAI Catering has just announced it will expand the product range at the Puff & Pie bakery chain in an effort to generate additional revenues to its regular airline catering operation. 

Puff & Pie will offer a range of Thai and Chinese take-away meals, seven kinds of ready-made curry sauce and five styles of salad dressing, which are also used in THAI in-flight meals. The products will be sold under the airline caterer’s new ‘Eurng Luang’ brand and will initially be available at its Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket Puff & Pie Bakery shops. THAI says it is aiming for the business traveler who had a good in-flight culinary experience, but has no time to prepare quality Thai food at home. Read full article »