The sad end of an era

In the meantime it will be interesting to see how things develop, how the capacity withdrawal by October this year will impact the air cargo market in Japan and elsewhere. Certainly there are worries that with JAL’s 10 freighters – effectively representing some 1,000 tonnes of capacity – pulled from the market there will be […]


In the meantime it will be interesting to see how things develop, how the capacity withdrawal by October this year will impact the air cargo market in Japan and elsewhere. Certainly there are worries that with JAL’s 10 freighters – effectively representing some 1,000 tonnes of capacity – pulled from the market there will be a capacity crunch, at least in the short-term. Rates will undoubtedly climb, which is probably not such a bad thing in the current environment.

Some observers point out that this could present an opportunity for the integrators, or for other new maindeck or combination carriers to gain a foothold in Japan, although this relies on the very challenging ability to get traffic rights and landing slots. It will probably benefit JAL’s native competitors, All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA) the most.

The decision to pull the plug on the freighters was surely not an easy one. The savage beating that the global economic recession meted out on the air cargo industry in general and the maindeck sector in particular, was nothing less than severe. The passenger side was of course broad-sided as well, and the conspiracy of all these factors was simply far too great for an already ailing JAL to withstand.