First freighter in 13 years for Japan Airlines

Render of a Japan Airlines 777 cargo freighter in flight
Image Credit: Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines has announced it will introduce its first dedicated freighter aircraft in 13 years as it adapts to a new business model. The acquisition will be a significant step towards a proposed cargo fleet.

New freighters

JAL has announced its plan to introduce its first dedicated freighter aircraft to the fleet in 13 years. The airline stated its aim was to secure “stable revenues” through the expansions of alliances with partner companies.

The new freighter introduced will be a Boeing 767-300ER Freighter – a dedicated cargo aircraft. Flights and services will begin from the end of the 2023 fiscal year, in sequence.

The Tokyo-based airline stated that it had been sourcing and securing revenues in the air cargo markets, building its business operations through the use of cargo capacity on its passenger aircraft fleet. It has also chartered freighters of other carriers.

As the cargo market has been fluctuating recently, the use of passenger aircraft cargo capacity and charters provides JAL with some flexible business options.

Proposed freighter fleet

With the company’s plans for growth in the market, the decision has been made to obtain its own fleet of dedicated freighter aircraft. The business model, JAL states, is to establish and ensure “stable and growing demand.”

JAL also cites a so-called “2024 Issue” where Japan expects a shortage of truck drivers due to the revision of labour regulations. The company says it will strengthen its air transportation capabilities to meet the demands this may bring.


The focus for JAL is on capturing high-growth cargo, such as e-commerce and parcel delivery. This, it states, will be achieved through its alliances and patterns in logistics, air transport and cargo. It is also building domestic networks in response to the aforementioned “2024 Issue.”

The dedicated cargo network will start with services to East Asia and future growth focused on domestic routes.

Photo credit: KYODO via The Japan Times website

Japan Airlines March traffic data

Also announced recently was Japan Airlines March 2023 traffic data.

The data shows a year-on-year increase in international passenger numbers of almost 375%. The number of passengers for the month was over half a million (526,531).

For the full year 2022, which also ended on 31 March 2023, the total number of international passengers carried by the airline finished at 4,348,562. That resulted in an increase of 487.2% compared to the full year 2021.

The main drive of the increase was the re-opening of most Asian destinations. Travel restrictions implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic had almost been fully removed from key destinations by the end of its FY2022.

In a positive move for the airline’s future cargo ambitions, cargo tonnage carried and domestic flights also increased in the period.

Domestic travel increased by 185.4%. To a total number of over 30 million passengers carried within Japan for the year.

International cargo tonnage finished at 456,529, an increase of 90.1% year-on-year. International mail also increased by 77.9% to 20,161 ton. Domestically, the cargo and mail tonnage both increased by 122.9% and 96.7% respectively.

By Jack K Byrne 4 Min Read
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