Japan Airlines will roll out new aircraft and cabin products across a series of international routes this year.
From June 2015, the airline will start deploying its new fleet of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners with its Sky Suite cabins, offering 44 fully-flat beds in business class, a new premium economy section with 35 seats, and 116 wider seats in economy class.
This means that in total, the larger B787-9s will feature just 195 seats across the three classes, making it among the most spacious of any twin-aisle aircraft in the skies. It will retain the 2-4-2 economy class seating configuration adopted on the 161-seat B787-8s.
The B787-9 will make its international debut on the Tokyo Narita–Jakarta route from 1 July 2015, marking one of a series of Dreamliner deployments planned by JAL this year. The airline’s B787-8s with Sky Suite cabins will also be rolled out on the Narita-Paris and Narita-Delhi routes from 29 March, and on the Narita-Helsinki route from 1 June.
B787-8s with standard cabin configurations will also be rolled out on the Tokyo Haneda–Bangkok, Haneda-Ho Chi Minh City, Narita-Ho Chi Minh City, Haneda-Beijing, Haneda-Seoul Gimpo, and Osaka–Taipei routes from 29 March.
Also from this date, JAL will increase the number of B787-8 flights on the Narita-Moscow route from three to four per week, while the Narita-Frankfurt route will be upgraded to the larger B777-300ER aircraft. Some routes will see capacity reductions however, including Narita-Sydney, Haneda-Taipei and Osaka-Shanghai.
JAL’s Sky Suites are being progressively rolled out across the airline’s international fleet of B767s, B777s and B787s.
How the world’s Boeing 787-9s compare
The mid-sized version of the Dreamliner series, the Boeing 787-9 was designed to handle approximately 280 passengers in a standard two-class configuration, and has a maximum permitted capacity of 420 seats. So JAL’s 195-seat version is very spacious. In comparison, Etihad Airways’ new B787-9 offers 235 seats in three classes, while Air New Zealand’s has 302 seats. Low-cost carrier Scoot is expected to fit its new B787-9s with 375 seats in a two-class layout.