JAL abandons freighters

JAPAN Airlines (JAL) will stop all freighter flights by the end of October and instead only rely on bellyhold capacity. Its freighter fleet of six 747 and three 767 freighters will be sold.

Freighter flights make up about 25 per cent of JAL’s international freight transport.

The move is part of JAL’s massive restructuring to try and hold off bankruptcy and comes after the long drawn out but ultimately futile merger talks between JAL Cargo and Nippon Cargo Airlines, stalled last month.

JAL said that cutting all freighter operations is the only way for JAL Cargo to remain profitable in the face of continuing lack of demand, adding that it hopes to make the division profitable by March 2012.

In the last nine months of 2009, the carrier lost US$2 billion leading it to seek massive bailouts from the Japanese government and to eventually enter bankruptcy protection.

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