Japan Airlines Co., Ltd. (JAL) (日本航空株式会社, (Nihon Kōkū Kabushiki-gaisha), also known as Nikkō (日航), or simply, Japan Airlines (JAL), is the national flag carrier of Japan and was founded on August 1st, 1951, in the aftermath of WWII, the Japanese government recognized the need for the reliable air transportation system in the nation. With an initial capital of ¥100 million, they started a quest in what would later become one the world’s class-leading airline as we know it today. With decades of growth and profit, adventures expansions into hotel and resort businesses, and financial losses which resulted in near-permanent bankruptcy, eventually, JAL managed to pull through and set themselves higher than many competitions.
Today, as of 2020, JAL alone serves a staggering 60 domestic destinations and 39 international destinations across world continents; Asia, the Americas, Europe and Australia. It is estimated that JAL does over 4,500 international flights and 26,000 monthly, from their main hubs of Tokyo’s Narita International Airport and Tokyo (Haneda) International Airport, Kansai International Airport and Itami Airport. The JAL group including codeshares has operations that account for scheduled and unscheduled international and domestic passenger and cargo services to 220 destinations in 35 countries worldwide, and the group is said to have a fleet of 279 aircraft combined total and in the fiscal year-end of March 31st, 2009, the airline group carried over 52 million passengers and over 1.1 million tons of cargo and mail. Japan Airlines, J-Air, JAL Express, and Japan Transocean Air are members of the Oneworld airline alliance network. And these numbers are expected to grow with coming years, as both international and domestic competition is stronger than ever before.
While JAL’s main rival ANA, has long time partnered up and is a proud member of Star Alliance, JAL is not flying alone, as they too joined ventures with a strong alliance group in the aviation realm. Oneword JAL first became a member of Oneworld back in 2005, and since then partnered up with major airlines across the industry who have given themselves a name to recognize; American Airlines, Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways to name a few. Between September 2009 and February 2010, JAL was seriously considering accepting a strategic investment from Delta Air Lines and joining the SkyTeam alliance after them ultimately exited bankruptcy while they still remained in the Oneworld alliance. American planned to team up with Oneworld alliance members British Airways and Qantas to make a joint offer to recapitalise JAL.
JAL eventually emerged from bankruptcy protection in March 2011 and following its exit from bankruptcy protection, JAL began several new partnerships within the Oneworld alliance. The transpacific joint venture between JAL and American commenced in April 2011. JAL formed Jetstar Japan, a low-cost carrier joint venture with Qantas subsidiary Jetstar Airways, in July. In 2012, JAL and British Airways parent company International Airlines Group (IAG) submitted applications to the Japanese government and European Union respectively in seeking a joint venture business operation for flights between Japan and Europe.
JAL has also been rated as one of the world’s top 20 airlines by Skytrax for the 4th year in a row, where they have over the years passed, climbed up to 11th place in 2019, only trailing 8 places behind its main competitor, ANA, who’s held a steady grip at number 3 for 2019’s ranking. But it is worth noting that Japan Airlines has, on the other hand, made themselves a staple for cleanliness and punctuality, something known to lie deep in the roots of the Japanese culture. In terms of these two categories, we find JAL being ranked 2nd in having the cleanliest cabins, behind the Taiwanese carrier EVA and in 3rd place for punctuality at an average rate of 83.99%, on-time record, according to the Telegraph.
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