Monday, January 09, 2006



During the 1960s, Aeroflot operated Tokyo-Moscow flights in joint Aeroflot/JAL livery.The former Japan Air Lines was established in August 1951, with the government of Japan recognizing the need for a reliable air transportation system to help Japan grow in the aftermath of World War II. On October 25, using three Northwest Airlines Martin 2-0-2 aircraft, and Northwest crews, Japan Air Lines began serving several domestic cities from Tokyo.

In 1953, the new Japan Airlines, which was owned by Japanese government, was established and the former company was dissolved. Its first aircraft, a DC-3 named "Kinsei", was leased from Philippine Airlines. Japan Airlines, in addition to the 2-0-2's, used DC-3, DC-4, DC-6 and DC-7 during the 1950s. Towards the end of that decade, it started its first international service, to San Francisco.

In 1960, Japan Airlines bought their first jet, a DC-8. Soon after, they decided to re-equip their airline, using jet airplanes only. That decade, many new international destinations were established.

In the 1970s they bought the Boeing 747, the Boeing 727 and the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 to accommodate the ever growing list of international routes, both to its Asian neighbors, and around the world.

In the 1980s Japan Airlines performed special flights for the Crown Prince of Japan and the Princess, Pope John Paul II, and various Japanese prime ministers. During that decade they also began to be more promotionally aware, with plane models and other promotional items being produced in quantity. It also bought new Boeing 767 jets and retired the DC-8's and 727's. In 1987, Japan Airlines Co, Ltd was completely privatised.

JAL Boeing 747-400 in 1989-2002 colour schemeJapan Airlines began the 1990s with flights to help evacuate Japanese citizens from Iraq before the start of the Gulf War. In 1992, Japan Air Charters was established, and in 1997, an agreement with The Walt Disney Company was announced, making Japan Airlines the official airline of Disney Tokyo. That year also, JALExpress had been established, with Boeing 737 aircraft. Also in 1997, the airline had to fly the Japanese prime minister to Peru to help negotiate in the Tupac Amaru kidnapping case. Japan Airlines acquired Boeing 777's during that decade.

Japan Airlines Cargo Boeing 747-400 (JA402J) waiting for take-offJapanese airlines had kept the Big 3 (Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways and JAS) structure for many years. But in 2001, Japan Air System (JAS) and Japan Airlines (JAL), the largest of the Big 3, agreed to merge.

On October 2, 2002, JAS and JAL established a new holding company which was called Japan Airlines System (日本航空システム) and they were reborn as the new Japan Airlines (JAL) group. Airplane liveries were changed to match the design of the new JAL group. At that time, the new JAL group was the sixth largest in the world by passengers carried and the third largest measured by revenue.

On April 1, 2004, Japan Airlines (old JAL) changed its name to Japan Airlines International and Japan Air System (JAS) changed its name to Japan Airlines Domestic. At the same time, all JAS flight codes, check-in desks and plane were unified into JAL. On June 26, 2004, Japan Airlines System was renamed to Japan Airlines Corporation to make the most of the JAL brand.

On 25 October 2005, Tokyo - JAL group decided to apply to join the airline alliance oneworld (JAL already has code sharing on several members of oneworld: American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Iberia and QANTAS.)

JALUX Inc., established 1962, is JAL's catering company which also does a variety of work for the company including the "De sky" line of snack foods, supplying JAL's 'Blue Sky' restaurants and 'JAL-DFS' shops, Aircraft fuel components, cabin services and In-flight duty-free. JALUX merged with JAS TRADING on January 2004 to form one complete company.

Japan Airlines is one of the most widely known companies by model aeroplane collectors, their planes being produced in mass quantities by Schabak, Wooster, Herpa, Flight Miniatures, Long Prosper, Dragon Wings, etc., etc.

JAL Boeing 747-400

Incidents and Accidents

In 1952, a Martin 2-0-2 of Japan Air Lines crashed, killing all 37 on board.
On August 12, 1985, Japan Airlines flight 123, a 747 bound for Osaka International Airport, Itami/Toyonaka, lost control and crashed into a mountain after takeoff from Tokyo International Airport, Ota, Tokyo; it is the worst single-aircraft disaster in history; 520 out of 524 people on board died (excludes an unborn baby who died).
On 22 January 2005 a Japan Airlines Boeing 777-200 aircraft (with 211 people on board) at Sapporo airport, Japan, began its take-off run without being cleared to do so and was told by air traffic control to abort, which it did. The fault was compounded by the failure of the captain to report the event, for which the airline was reprimanded by the ministry of land, infrastructure and transport (ref: Flight International, July 2005).
On August 12, 2005 metal fragments fell in a Fukuoka residential area from a JALways' DC-10 bound for Honolulu after an engine briefly caught fire, underlining JAL's recent poor safety record. A boy and a man were injured by fragments. The plane was forced to return to Fukuoka Airport and land there. The sight of flames coming from the engine was captured by a NHK film crew which happened to be recording because the service to Hawaii is soon to be withdrawn as it is unprofitable.

Onboard Entertainment

JAL and JAA are known for their onboard entertainment system called MAGIC. The system is updated by JAL Entertainment Network (JEN) and features credit card phone, multiple movies, destination guides with immigration card filling instructions, active airplane stats, games and more. There are three generations of the MAGIC system: MAGIC-I, MAGIC-II, and MAGIC-III. The latest MAGIC-III system which is installed in Boeing 767 and Boeing 777 aircraft (also available on select Boeing 747-400 aircrafts), provides Audio/Video On Demand (AVOD) entertainment to the passengers. Recently, MAGIC systems have had the duty-free shopping catalouge added , including flight crew recommendations and a video of specials avalible on your flight. Aircraft with MAGIC-I and MAGIC-II have movies that automatically start once the AVOD system is turned on once the aircraft reaches cruise level. Passengers can tune in at any time of the movie. All movies restart upon completion. When the aircraft is in the pushback, taxi, takeoff, ascension, descension, stacking, landing, taxi, and docking, all TV's in the cabin automatically tune into the video camera outside the airplane to provide "Pilot Vision" to the passengers. This feature is common on many Japanese airlines.

The JAL Group have their own inflight magazine called Skyward reflecting on the company motto. Before merger with JAS ( The current JAL Domestic), JAL's inflight magazine was called Winds. All of the JAL Group magazines are provided by JALUX.


The Japan Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft (at November 2005):

23 Boeing 737-400 (JAL Express/JTA)
2 Boeing 747-100B/SUD
5 Boeing 747-200B
10 Boeing 747-200F
11 Boeing 747-300
42 Boeing 747-400
2 Boeing 747-400F
3 Boeing 767-200
23 Boeing 767-300
13 Boeing 767-300ER (further 2 on order)
14 Boeing 777-200 (further 3 on order)
11 Boeing 777-200ER
8 Boeing 777-300
4 Boeing 777-300ER (further 9 on order)
18 McDonnell Douglas MD-81
8 McDonnell Douglas MD-87
16 McDonnell Douglas MD-90
28 Airbus A300-600R

The Boeing customer codes for Japan Airlines are x46 for international and x89 for domestic (used for former Japan Air System) (examples: 777-346ER, 777-289, etc).

Aircraft disposed of include 8 Boeing 737-400, 8 Boeing 747-100, 6 Boeing 747SR (one now being used as a NASA Shuttle Carrier aircraft), 19 Boeing 747-200, 5 Boeing 747-300 and 10 McDonnell Douglas MD-11 aircraft.

The Airbus A300s were actually acquired from Japan Air System, not directly from Japan Airlines, along with the MD-81, MD-87, MD-90, and their Boeing 777s.

In December 2004, Japan Airlines announced the selection of the Boeing 787 for its medium-size aircraft fleet. It is seeking 30 aircraft, with options on 20 more. Delivery is expected to start from 2008 and the aircraft will be used on domestic and international routes (ref: Airliner World, March 2005).

Japan Airlines confirmed an order for six new Boeing 767-300ER aircraft, three freighter and three passenger models, valued at approximately $800 million at list prices (ref:Airliner World, September 2005).

On October 31, 2005 Japan Airlines operated its last two DC-10 flights. One aircraft, JA8543, operating flight JL736 from Hong Kong International Airport to Narita International Airport, touched down at 16:05. Another aircraft, JA8541, operating flight JL952 from Incheon International Airport to Narita International Airport touched down at 16:37, marking the DC-10's last flight with the airline, after over 30 years of reliable operations with the airline.

Since 1984, Japan Airlines has been and is currently the largest Boeing 747 operator in the world.


The JAL livery is called the "Arc of the Sun." The livery features the motif of a rising sun on a creamy parchment colored background. JAL is a strong supporter of UNICEF and expresses its support by having a "We Support UNICEF" logo on each of the airline's aircraft.

JAL is known for adopting special liveries for individual aircraft. One 747, registration JA8908, carries an Adidas soccer livery. Another 747, registration JA8907, is the Matsui Jet, featuring the famous Japanese baseball player Hideki Matsui. The airline's Boeing 767-300, registration JA8253, is the Expo 2005 airplane. Various aircraft in the JAL fleet carry a Yokoso Japan logo supporting the Visit Japan campaign. During late 2005, Japan Airlines began using a Boeing 777 (registration JA8941), featuring Japanese actor Shingo Katori on one side, and television series Saiyuki, along with it's main character "Goku" on the other side.

JALways' fleet includes some colourful Boeing 747 and DC-10 aircraft with "Reso'cha" titles. These aircraft are used on charter flights to holiday destinations in the Pacific, such as Hawaii. Reso'cha is a marketing abbreviation for Resort Charter. Reso'cha planes were formerly known as JAL Super Resort Express.

JAL is actively repainting all it's aircraft with the new livery but can still see JAL, JAA and JALways aircraft in their old liveries.

JAL is also known for its numerous liveries featuring Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea, as it is the official airline of the Tokyo Disney Resort. They sponsor the attraction, Star Jets, which feature a variation of the current livery on the ride vehicles. At one time there was more than 6 widebody aircraft painted with the special liveries.


Post a Comment

<< Home

eXTReMe Tracker