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Aloha! JAL enhances Hawaii services

Eager to protect their long time stronghold, Japan Airlines is further strengthening their position in the lucrative Japan to Hawaii market by introducing premium configured aircraft and enhanced service onto their Narita to Hawaii flights.

In the wake of added competition from ANA, Delta and United and other low cost competitors, JAL has sought to differentiate themselves by enhancing their island bound traffic.

Premium configured 777’s will now be used on the route, with full flat beds now available and an industry leading hard product in Business and Economy. The soft product will also be improved upon, with new features being introduced progressively through the summer schedule.

New menus crafted by the prestigious Shiseido Parlour in Ginza will be featured exclusively on JAL’s Hawaii flights – the airline will seek to emulate the restaurant’s famous beef hash and rice menu. JAL will now offer new Japanese-Western inspired menus on the route as well as Hawaiian options and a traditional Japanese menu for all passengers in the premium and economy cabin.

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This is all in reaction to a perceived threat that JAL sees in a market that the airline has traditionally dominated. According to nikkei.com,

JAL is responding as its rivals go on the offensive. ANA has said it would introduce three A380 jets to the Honolulu routes in spring 2019. The new ultra-large Airbus jet will offer a classy feel in first-class and other cabins. The plane also can seat more than double the passengers of conventional models, and ANA expects to increase its capacity on Japan-Honolulu routes by about 20%.

ANA surpassed JAL last fiscal year for the first time in passengers for international flights, owing to the company’s focus on business travelers. ANA now seeks to gain momentum in leisure travel as well by enhancing services to Honolulu, a familiar vacation destination for the Japanese.

Furthermore, specific to the Hawaii market, nikkei.com had this to say:

JAL’s leading Japan-Honolulu market share has slid from 45% in 2004 to 30% this year as rivals gain ground. ANA expanded its share during that period by 2.5 percentage points to 15%. Hawaii is turning from an untapped blue sea to a crowded red ocean for JAL.

JAL operates flights year round out of Tokyo Narita, Tokyo Haneda, Osaka Kansai, Nagoya Chibu to Honolulu, with seasonal flights from Sapporo in Hokkaido and Naha in Okinawa – so the airline remains the dominant player in the market with rival ANA only operating flights out of the Tokyo area to Hawaii. With these latest enhancements JAL is sure to remain the major player in the prestigious Japan-Hawaii market for some time yet and perhaps recapture some valuable market share from ANA and other airlines plying the route.

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