Japan Airlines Co. will introduce three new cargo planes for the first time in more than a decade, seeking to diversify revenue by tapping into global and local consumer demand fueled by e-commerce and parcel delivery.
Three new Boeing Co. 767-300ER dedicated cargo aircraft will operate starting this fiscal year, which ends March 2024, the company said in a statement Tuesday. Until now, the airline has run its cargo business using space on passenger flights and chartering other companies’ freighters.
Japan Airlines is also anticipating greater demand for cargo transport due to new regulations next year that will limit the number of hours that truck drivers in Japan are allowed to work. The new rules are seen disrupting logistics and supply chains as factories, homes and businesses find news ways for transporting goods and finished products.
“We will tie up with logistics partners to reliably meet increasing demand in the international e-commerce industry,” Yuji Saito, chief financial officer at Japan Airlines, said at a news conference.
Japan Airlines said it will also work with Yamato Holdings Co. to expand services. For international routes, Japan Airlines said it will mainly operate flights to and from East Asia, while eventually seeking to operate domestic flights to improve aircraft utilization.
“Our freight business will be a hybrid of domestic and international, making it a little different from major conventional cargo businesses,” Saito added.
Japan Airlines returned to profitability during the latest fiscal year through March, reporting profit before financing and income tax of ¥64.6 billion ($470 million) on sales of ¥1.38 trillion. The company is forecasting that profit will climb to ¥100 billion for the current fiscal period, with revenue of ¥1.66 trillion.