ANA to launch services to Delhi – deepening ties between India and Japan

Japan’s largest airline, All Nippon Airways (ANA), has announced that it will be launching flights between Tokyo Narita and New Delhi later this fall as part of a broader plan to increase its international capacity by 22% by the beginning of fiscal year 2014. The expansion will be enabled by a growth in ANA’s long haul fleet, as it will take delivery of 22 new jets, including 14 more of the fuel efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner while retiring 17 older aircraft including up to 7 Boeing 747-400Ds, which are used primarily on short haul routes.

 According to an ANA spokesperson, “ANA is planning to launch the Delhi service this year, but it has not been announced which aircraft will be used.” However, one can hope that the Dreamliner, which ANA’s chief rival Japan Airlines will be using to serve Delhi on all 7 weekly flights from November 30th onwards. Currently, Japan Airlines operates the Dreamliner on 4 of 5 weekly services (Boeing 777-200ER operates the final one). The service will be increased to daily on October 28th (with the two additional flights also operated by Boeing 777-200ER) before going all-787 in November.

According to ANA, customer response to the Dreamliner has been nothing short of extraordinary

“The results of the survey, the first to be carried out since the 787 entered service with ANA in October last year, show that passengers are attracted by the unique features of the Dreamliner, which include higher cabin humidity and lower cabin altitude, more headroom and larger windows and overhead luggage bins than conventional aircraft….Some 98 per cent of passengers said they would like to fly again on the Dreamliner with ANA or another airline or go out of their way to do so.”

ANA has 55 Boeing 787s on order; 40 of the smaller 787-8 and 15 of the larger 787-9, which is planned for entry into service (EIS) in 2014.

According to ANA, the Dreamliner is also saving them money in the fuel department, offering 21% savings over ANA’s 767-300ERs. Furthermore, ANA’s first 787s were considerably overweight and lacking in engine fuel efficiency (requiring major weight reductions on the part of Boeing and performance improvement packages [pip] from the engine makers), meaning that if the early 787s are already performing this well, then the first 787s that meet spec (our sources tell us that this will happen around LN 90) are sure to perform even better. And the superb fuel efficiency could be very beneficial for India’s beleaguered national carrier Air India, who will be taking delivery of the first of 27 Dreamliners on order in the coming months.

ANA’s Dreamliners are configured in 3 separate configurations; domestic, regional, and long haul. The seat pitches and configurations for the aircraft can be found below.

Domestic : 264 (12J / 252Y): Business class seat pitch – 59 inches, Economy class seat pitch – 31~32 inches
Regional : 222 (42J / 180Y): Business – 59 inches, Economy – 31~32 inches
Long Haul : 158 (46J / 112Y): Business – 44 inches (staggered), Economy – 34 inches

Meanwhile, ANA operates daily flights between Narita and Mumbai already, twice weekly with the Boeing 737-700ER in all-business class configuration and the rest of the flights with normal mainline Boeing 737s.

According to ANA’s spokesperson the rationale behind adding Delhi service is, “ANA continues to expand the network and opportunities in Asia where the economic growth is strong, and Delhi fits the profile perfectly.”

Overview of India – Japan market

As India’s economy continues to diversify and expand in fast growing sectors like technology and IT, Bangalore Aviation feels that India-Japan passenger traffic figures are set to explode. The following is an overview of the India-Japan market as it will stand in November, assuming that Air India’s re-start of international operations goes as planned.

Furthermore, we feel that there is significant potential for Indian carriers to launch more service to Japan, especially for India’s largest private carrier Jet Airways. With the airline reportedly in talks for up to 9 Airbus A330-300 aircraft, perhaps 1-2 of its A330-200s can be shifted to begin service to Narita from Mumbai? And airlines from both countries should also consider launching services from Bangalore and Chennai, both large local markets with no nonstop service. As Tokyo-Narita airport offers up more slots, there is a significant potential for India-Japan air links to grow and prosper.

Special Thanks to ANA PR team for their always prompt responses, and for confirming Delhi route plan even though no formal route announcement has been made through their PR page. 

About Vinay Bhaskara

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