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Japanese airline plans 'all-premium' A380 flights

By David Flynn     Filed under: tokyo, business class, Premium Economy, British Airways, Airbus, Airbus A380, Lufthansa, london, a380

Frequent flyers have long been dreading the thought of any airline introducing an all-economy A380 packing 853 sardines passengers.

But low-cost Japanese airline Skymark has unveiled an audacious plan for an 'all-premium' fitout of the superjumbo. Skymark wants to launch a 'cut-price, all-premium service' shuttling between Tokyo and London in 2014.

The A380s will be configured for 114 business-class seats on the upper deck with 299 premium economy seats downstairs. No first class and no economy - just plenty of premium seats with plenty of legroom (well, hopefully by lanky Western standards rather than Japanese).

The roundtrip business-class fare is pegged at ¥300,000 yen ($3,650) compared with the ¥700,000 yen ($8,510) now charged by rival Japanese airlines ANA and Japan Airlines for plying the same route. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic also offer Tokyo-Heathrow flights.

Skymark has not commented on which airports it would use, leaving open the possibility that it could run between the newly-internationalised Haneda and Gatwick, which has received approval for an A380 upgrade.

It's a big ask for Skymark, given that the airline is currently a domestic-only carrier for Japan and that to date, only British Airways and Lufthansa have chalked up any measure of success with all-premium long-haul flights. Three transatlantic all-premium carriers – Eos, Maxjet and Silverjet – all closed between 2007 and 2008.


About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 17/7/12 by rcooper

This is an interesting area of development especially in the Asia region.  SQ started the premium only long haul flights flying nonstop to LAX and EWR and they work very well for them

LH and BA have seen good success with their launches as well - as they have key markets that use and rely on those services, financial services travelling between hub financial cities

Hong Kong Airlines is currently showing  a good start to their nonstop HKG to LGW services - the market is there especially in high end leisure

Tokyo to London premium only flights potentially could work - a key city pair with a very high premium traffic demand both for corporate and leisure travellers.  With the right premium product/pricing/scheduling and feeding into a good domestic Japanese network - it has potential - however competing with 4 very powerful carriers on one of their prime routes - could be interesting

299 additional premium economy seats to fill a day is a lot ,that doubles what is currently offered nonstop daily

2 on 6/1/13 by Jason

How 'premium' could 299 lower deck seats be? And sorry, but who wants to sit in the back of the plane when you are travelling J class ??


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