JAL flies 1st freighter in 13 years amid high online shopping demand

by Feb 20, 2024Featured Article, News

Japan Airlines Co on Monday began flying a cargo plane for the first time in more than 13 years, as the company hopes to tap into growing demand for online shopping worldwide following the coronavirus pandemic.

JAL’s dedicated cargo aircraft service is offered in partnership with a subsidiary of DHL Group, the world’s leading logistics company, and involves signing a contract to load a certain amount of cargo on the airline’s planes.

The Japanese company’s first freighter since the service resumed left for Taipei from Narita airport near Tokyo on Monday. A remodeled Boeing 767 passenger jet, the plane is 54.9 meters in length and 16.0 meters high and can carry a maximum payload of 48 tons.

The plane is intended to fly to nearby Asian cities such as Seoul, Shanghai, and Taipei, departing from Narita and Chubu airport in central Japan. JAL plans to increase its total number of freighters to three by fiscal 2025.

The aircraft will mainly carry goods with relatively stable demand at home and abroad, such as medicines and perishable items. In addition, the company expects to transport Japanese cosmetics to overseas markets while bringing general merchandise and clothing home.

JAL fully abolished dedicated cargo aircraft in 2010 when it went bankrupt, leaving its cargo business to rely on passenger jets.

“We would like to get involved in a growing market,” Yuichiro Kito, senior vice president of cargo and mail, told a ceremony held at Narita airport in Chiba Prefecture.