Japan Airlines’ Wild Routing To London

Japan Airlines’ Wild Routing To London

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Airlines around the world have been making major operational changes as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, largely avoiding Russian and Ukrainian airspace. While a lot of flights have gotten longer, I think Japan Airlines’ new routing to London might just be one of the most interesting reroutings that we’ve seen to date.

Japan Airlines flies “the other way” to London

Japan Airlines is no longer using Russian and Ukrainian airspace, and as a result the airline has canceled most of its flights between Japan and Europe. Flights between North Asia and Europe have historically been among the most reliant on Russian airspace, so airlines are having to adjust.

Nonetheless oneworld member Japan Airlines is continuing to operate select frequencies to London, and the routing is fascinating. For example, on March 2, 2022, Japan Airlines still operated its usual route from Tokyo (HND) to London (LHR), for flight JL43. The plane flew west over Russia, and the flight took 11hr47min.

Fast forward to yesterday (March 4, 2022), when Japan Airlines operated the flight without using Russian airspace. Instead of flying west, the plane instead flew east. It headed straight for Alaska, took a northerly routing over Canada, came in over central Greenland, flew over Iceland, and then approached London.

This time around the flight took 14hr50min, so that added over three hours to the flight time.

The flight faced significant headwinds in the other direction, returning to Japan. For example, on March 2, 2022, Japan Airlines flew the regular route from London to Tokyo (over Russian airspace), and that took 11hr12min. On March 4, 2022, the flight operated in the other direction, and that took 15hr27min, so that added over four hours to the flight time.

What a scenic routing, but this can’t be sustainable

On the surface this seems like it would have been an incredibly scenic routing, since Northern Canada, Greenland, etc., has some of the most gorgeous views in the world. Unfortunately it’s still winter, so looking at flight tracking software, it appears that these flights were in darkness most of the way.

The Tokyo to London flight was briefly in daylight over Northern Canada and Greenland, while the London to Tokyo flight was more or less in darkness the whole way. That’s a long time to be in the dark!

Bigger picture, it just seems like these flights aren’t sustainable. Long haul flights are already expensive to operate, and when you add in several extra hours of flying plus high oil prices, this seems like a stretch. Then again, I guess this is a pretty premium market, and there are all kinds of flights between other city pairs that are regularly longer. I’ll be curious to see how this plays out.

This route is operated by a Boeing 777-300ER

Bottom line

Japan Airlines is continuing to operate select frequencies to London at the moment, while avoiding Russian airspace. This is essentially causing the airline to fly “the other way” around the globe, adding several hours to the flight time in each direction.

I never thought we’d see the day where a scheduled flight between Japan and the United Kingdom operates over the United States, but that’s where we’re at…

What do you make of Japan Airlines’ London routing?

Conversations (67)
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  1. Bols59 New Member

    If a situation onboard requires diversion to the nearest airport and that airport is in Russia, is the diversion approved for humanitarian (I hope 'humanitarian' hasn't yet been copyrighted by some thwacked out clothes horse) i.e. medical/equipment emergency reasons?
    Japan (& many other countries) are not technically at war with Russia.
    I don't foresee this occurring, but it's still something to consider.

  2. David Guest

    I flew on the last JL43 (HND_LHR) rotation across Russia on March 2nd (and survived!) , and took the long way round back to Tokyo on March 24th. Some interesting points: on the way to LHR (March 2nd) there were just 30 (thirty) PAX on board (I counted them!) the 777-300ER, and nobody in first or business! JL had received a lot of cancelations due to the Russian invasion. I was treated like royalty at...

    I flew on the last JL43 (HND_LHR) rotation across Russia on March 2nd (and survived!) , and took the long way round back to Tokyo on March 24th. Some interesting points: on the way to LHR (March 2nd) there were just 30 (thirty) PAX on board (I counted them!) the 777-300ER, and nobody in first or business! JL had received a lot of cancelations due to the Russian invasion. I was treated like royalty at check-in even though I was a Y-fare PAX. There were also no announcements about the route across Russia from the captain - a first for me in 45 years of flying! In fact we flew almost over the pole and down Norway. On the way back, as you say, it was dark most of the way and an extra 3 hours on top of the usual flight time. No aurora either. LHR ramp to HND ramp was 15 hours 45 mins due to longish taxi at both ends. Quite a nostalgic experience as my first visit to Tokyo back in 1989 was LHR_ANC_NRT

  3. Nikojas Guest

    Just read that overfly fees that Russia charged were high enough that flying the wrong way round doesn't cost much more as there is no Russia overfly fee to pay now... Would love to know how accurate that is.

  4. dave Guest

    I am new to this but looking at the original route why cant it fly south through Thailand up over India surely that will be quicker than flying east.

  5. Taha. Guest

    Superb. Safety first. Kudos to JAL.

  6. James Booth Guest

    In days of yore the standard LHR-NRT routing was Westbound one stop over ANC.

  7. Giorgina Guest

    In fact the quickest route would be to keep going west...IE. Tokyo to London over Alaska, but London to Tokyo over the various "Stan" countires

  8. IB Guest

    This route was the normalway during the Soviet era until 1990. They used to refuel in Anchorage

  9. JOHN Guest

    My first thought is that I hope the war in Ukraine ends in days.

    I was originally booked to fly from Australia to London on Cathay Pacific in April and return from Paris to Australia in August but had to cancel that as there was so much uncertainty if and when Hong Kong would open to transit traffic. I rebooked to travel on JAL to London in May and come back from Paris in...

    My first thought is that I hope the war in Ukraine ends in days.

    I was originally booked to fly from Australia to London on Cathay Pacific in April and return from Paris to Australia in August but had to cancel that as there was so much uncertainty if and when Hong Kong would open to transit traffic. I rebooked to travel on JAL to London in May and come back from Paris in September only a few weeks ago and now this may not be possible. While it looks like the Haneda to London flight will probably go ahead and believe me I don't really mind spending an extra 3 hours in JAL business class and an 0925 arrival at Heathrow is a bit better than the planned 0625 arrival.

    I have seen that Air France is still flying between Paris and Narita going over South Korea, China, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria and the EU zone and it looks like it adds about 90-120 minutes to the flight and again I don't mind a couple more hours in JAL business class.

    I would also assume that the longer flights apart from requiring more fuel may require more staff both cabin and flight for the longer flights.

    Maybe JAL can establish a temporary mini hub somewhere in the US or Canada and use it as a base for its European destinations.

    I just hope that this terrible war in Ukraine ends soon .

    1. M Ghi Guest

      I am confused on why JAL is not using the same route as Air France which seems only 2 hours longer (or less). I get it in the past there was the Anchorage route...but it was a different world in terms of plane range. With today's planes, with no reason for a technical stopover, the Air France route is shorter than the JAL over Alaska route. Really don't get why JAL is not going that way.

  10. Jan Guest

    remember anchorage. usd to be a normal stop over on flights between europe and japan.

  11. Chaz Guest

    ...Tokyo , Anchorage , London was the normal Japan route in Soviet times when airlines also had to avoid Russian airspace .Terrific Polar views !

  12. Tosh Guest

    Japanese newspaper (Nikkei -- the equivalent of WSJ) recently quoted ANA CEO saying that the time is different from the days when 747 were flying between Japan and Europe via ANC. With their fleet of 777s and 787s under the ETOP regulations, he does not see good diversion airports in northern Canada or Greenland and hence decided to use the Silkroad route over the Stans (i.e., Central Asia) for ANA.

  13. ugo Guest

    Alitalia DC8/62 flights to Tokyo used to refuel in Irkutsk, and shades had to be down all the time (typical Soviet security measure). When flight attendants (correctly) ask somebody to open the blind I cannot help remembering that.

  14. William Ken Guest

    I would think JAL would stop over in NYC (JFK) to refuel then continue on to London (LHR)..

    1. Isabel Guest

      The Moscow stopover for JAL was during the 80s. I worked for them at the time and a group of us used our staff passes for a long weekend in 1987. JAL also flew to Rome via Moscow.
      Interesting fact - the first JAL nonstop flight was on the same day that Princess Diana opened terminal 4 therefore didn't get any press coverage!

  15. Maga Guest

    Nothing new here.. As somebodyelse mention above. Flying Long haul routes it was like that years ago for some airlines!!! Specially the good ones!! Back to Alaska.!!!

  16. XXson Guest

    It is that be better airspace to UK
    We have booking that ticket of JL flight ✈️

  17. Pam Guest

    When I joined BA in 1988 that was how we operated to Tokyo via Anchorage in Alaska.

  18. iamhere Guest

    Some mentioned the Anchorage stop overs of the past. However, they could just increase the frequency to other OneWorld hubs and require people change planes. Surely they have flights to the US that do not fly over Russia.

  19. jns Guest

    Let market forces determine if flights with a stop in Anchorage are what the flying public wants versus non-stop flights that cost more per passenger. It may be that the cheap seats want lower cost and the expensive seats want quicker times.

    I remember KAL007 when the Soviet airspace was closed and much later flew on a KAL flight that passed over Russia and flew down the Sea of Okhotsk before jogging around North Korean airspace and landing in South Korea.

  20. Edward Guest

    I used to fly Swissair, Zurich to Tokyo when they flew via Anchorage. That was the standard route in those days. When exiting the aircraft in Anchorage you were greeted by a large stuffed grizzly bear. I still haven't worked out why the Japanese passengers purchased so many French perfumes and other European luxuries in Anchorage instead of in Europe.

  21. Janet Guest

    Flights to and from Japan and the US and Europe used to stop in Anchorage. We were forced into the Korean run duty free shops for a couple of hours. Time to dust off the duty free merchandise and return to these Soviet era routes?! But what about via Dubai?

  22. Colin Guest

    Best to avoid Russian air space. Don't want to be like KAL 007

  23. Kei Guest

    I have just come off flying JL43 (Tokyo-London) - the second day of flying the polar route.

    The Ministry of Transpost in Japan advised both airlines they should avoid Siberian airspace not because they are banned, but in case they have to divert due to technical issues - no supply of spare parts from Boeing as a result of the U.S. sanctions.

    It seems JAL chose the Northern, Polar route because of its...

    I have just come off flying JL43 (Tokyo-London) - the second day of flying the polar route.

    The Ministry of Transpost in Japan advised both airlines they should avoid Siberian airspace not because they are banned, but in case they have to divert due to technical issues - no supply of spare parts from Boeing as a result of the U.S. sanctions.

    It seems JAL chose the Northern, Polar route because of its past experience flying this way pre-1986.

    During the several hours of darkness, we got to see some amazing Northern Lights (aka aurora borealis) , as well as some killer sunrise views (polar deserts, mountain views) whilst flying over Canada and Greenland.

    There were 4 pilots on board (one extra than usual) who were working in teams of 2.

    We managed to shave off an hour vs. the revised timetabled arrival time after picking up some tailwinds and a slightly route compared to the previous day.

    Having flown Tokyo - London at least 60 times, it was pretty strange going the “other way around” . The inflight map was going crazy - with the dotted green line (“usual” route) and the straight green line (actual line) not agreeing with each other! Lots of lines on the monitor.

  24. Andrew Coughlan Guest

    Not that long ago airline's operated their Tokyo flights via Anchorage Alaska or Moscow.

  25. warren trout Guest

    It's a Mercator projection map. The route looks distorted terribly because the map is distorted terribly. Trying to depict a sphere onto a flat surface. Look at the size of Greenland.

    1. glenn t Diamond

      Doesn't every seasoned international traveller have a world globe sitting on their desk/workplace?
      Makes sense of any routing such as this one!
      Getting back to this story, ANA operates the exact same routes as JAL to UK ans northern Europe. Any word whether they too will adjust their routing?

    2. trayloch Guest

      I saw that ANA instead operates their route via south Asia and flies south of Russia, but flight times were similar, I think.

  26. Paul Guest

    Eventually Airlines will bring back a stop in Anchorage. Unfortunately US still has the stupid policy of requiring Visa or ESTA (not too big a deal for ESTA) depending on nationality for transit passengers remaining in the airport. Granted, the most likely routes to go this way will be to Japan and South Korea, both VWP countries, while most western and central European countries are also VWP but still. Flights from Taiwan, Philippines and mainland...

    Eventually Airlines will bring back a stop in Anchorage. Unfortunately US still has the stupid policy of requiring Visa or ESTA (not too big a deal for ESTA) depending on nationality for transit passengers remaining in the airport. Granted, the most likely routes to go this way will be to Japan and South Korea, both VWP countries, while most western and central European countries are also VWP but still. Flights from Taiwan, Philippines and mainland China to Europe will probably fly over China, Kazakhstan, Turkey etc if avoiding Russia. This is good news for Gulf carriers either way.

  27. MGhis Guest

    I am still puzzled why
    1) Air France has flown the CDG to nrt on a southerly route in 13 hours and 1 minute, while JAL went north from London and took over 15 hours...surely even from London. It would take less on that southerly route than 15 hours?
    2) seems that JAL is not going as northerly as it could making the route even longer? I wonder why it stays relatively south. ETOP? Winds?
    Anyway seems the southerly route is much better than northerly.

  28. TranceXplant Member

    As others have said, this was the standard route (with a stop in Alaska) during the Cold War. However, such oddities aren't *that* unusual now. I was on a CX flight from ORD to HKG in 2019 that went "the other way." I assume it was due to wind patterns, since there wasn't any airspace to avoid.

  29. derek Guest

    Not sustainable? I disagree. It is sustainable. That was the way for decades, even when the 747-100 came out. What may make it more sustainable is a stop in ANC for refueling. Then it can carry less fuel. When a lot of fuel is carried, more fuel is used up to carry that weight.

  30. Levin Guest

    I feel that airlines need to be politically apathetic. All of these are only going to raise questions regarding the actual control Washington has over its airlines. However I wonder how will the masses view fares and flight times. Will they find it cheaper to fly to say Southeast Asia now, for example.

    1. Bols59 New Member

      This article refers to Japan Airlines. Washington's control over Japan Airlines is a moot point. As in it doesn't exist.

  31. Michael Guest

    back in 1983 i flew JAL London to Tokyo and the flight was via Anchorage Alaska, so this route is similar but without the stopover in Anchorage, This flight was operated by a 747-200

  32. Jesse Guest

    As others have noted, this isn’t new. Rather, it’s a throw-back to the Cold War when ANC was a major stopping point between East Asia, the Americas and Europe. And believe for most of their history, Taiwanese airlines also had to route around Chinese airspace?

  33. Alan Riddell Guest

    This used to be the regular route between London and Tokyo in USSR days when Soviet airspace was closed. I remember flying BA on a 747 with a refuelling stop at Anchorage. I bought my wife a splendid Alaska sweatshirt!

  34. Michael Guest

    A total non-issue. Modern planes can handle the extra distance easily, and the airlines should be able to recover some if not all of the extra cost by higher fares.
    The ME3 carriers are not the greatest alternative here as going via AUH/DOH/DXB adds a substantial detour and extra flying time. Great hubs for traffic to South East Asia, not so much to Northern Asia.

  35. Don Macarthur Guest

    It wasn't with JAL but I flew the London-Tokyo route several times a few decades ago via Anchorage where a stop was made. The airport udon restaurant there was quite famous with Japanese. More recently, all airlines switched to the quicker Siberian route. It will use more fuel via Alaska but savings can be made as fees for using Russian airspace are high.

  36. Uncle Coffee Guest

    I don’t geht this routing. Lufthansa is flying from Frankfurt to Tokyo in 11:45 using a route to the south of Russia. London is 2hrs from Frankfurt...

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Air France is flying CDG to Tokyo and is doing so via the southern Black Sea, the stans and Mongolia.
      Delta just took delivery of a new A330-900 and flew it south to Egypt, over Saudi Arabia, over Mumbai (the same route they took when they served BOM) and then northeast across India and through China. Delta's route took them about as long as JL did here nearly over the North Pole.
      Remember...

      Air France is flying CDG to Tokyo and is doing so via the southern Black Sea, the stans and Mongolia.
      Delta just took delivery of a new A330-900 and flew it south to Egypt, over Saudi Arabia, over Mumbai (the same route they took when they served BOM) and then northeast across India and through China. Delta's route took them about as long as JL did here nearly over the North Pole.
      Remember there are overflight fees (which don't exist flying over oceans) and not every country has the same diplomatic relations with every other country. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are not operating to Tokyo so they do not want to or believe they can operate economically over available routes. There are parts of Central Asia that some insurers may not want their planes flying over.
      We won't know the exact reasons but the fact that JAL is flying this route more than any other carrier (including NH) says they are willing to be creative to keep the service going where others say it isn't worth it.

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      sorry, Delta's delivery flight was Toulouse to Tokyo Narita where Delta inducts Airbus widebody aircraft at its maintenance facility that is still at Narita even though Delta doesn't fly commercial flights there.

  37. Maddock Nigel Guest

    Flying via Alaska was once a regular route so it's not accurate to say its never been done.

  38. Sebastian Guest

    50 years ago Anchorage was a refueling stopover. A bit chilly in winter!

  39. Andrew Guest

    Man if anchorage airport isn't using this as an opportunity right now I have no idea what they're doing.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Man if this flight can bypass ANC right now, I have no idea why airlines need to stop there.

    2. Jct623 Guest

      The stop would mean they could carry less fuel, and be lighter. It's possible that this would make better economical sense than the nonstop routing.

  40. Jordan Member

    These are "tester" flights to analyze real-time data. Yes, a 777-300ER can handle this comfortably, as much as a 787, A350 and (LH's A340-300s). On LHR and perhaps CDG, possibly FRA can make this viable at lower yields (OR - expect fuel surcharges to be added).

    An extra 3 hours nonstop, or go via the Middle East.

    These flights ARE sustainable, based upon how much JL and others who might join are ok with the...

    These are "tester" flights to analyze real-time data. Yes, a 777-300ER can handle this comfortably, as much as a 787, A350 and (LH's A340-300s). On LHR and perhaps CDG, possibly FRA can make this viable at lower yields (OR - expect fuel surcharges to be added).

    An extra 3 hours nonstop, or go via the Middle East.

    These flights ARE sustainable, based upon how much JL and others who might join are ok with the lower yields. Revenue is revenue, especially in times like this - not always about profit. Also, how much business does everyone wish to hand over to the ME3? Luckily BA can route its pax on QR....so the direct loss is not as bad.

    Lets see how this continues.

  41. MrsCheque Guest

    Until 1991 flights between Japan and Europe were flying this way via Anchorage, because the Soviet Union air space wasn't open. So, to those without are is enough it's only natural why they are flying this way now.

  42. Joe Guest

    You must be young that you did not experience flying via Anchorage when flying between Europe and Japan. Those were the days that you make a stop-over in Alaska. The good old days are coming back. The Cold War between the Soviet Union and the USA, now its the EU/Nato/USA against Russia.
    The other routes from Europe were via the Middle East, sometimes via Colombo to South East Asia and Australia.

  43. Brian Johnson Guest

    In the 70’s that was the route Japan/ North Europe, flew it many times although there was a stop in Anchorage

  44. Garry Margolis Guest

    Before the Soviets had a 747 “competitor,” 747 flights between Europe and Japan (and vice versa) were not permitted to fly over Russian airspace. They stayed north of Russia and refueled in Anchorage.

    Passengers were offloaded into an isolated transit terminal filled with souvenir shops. It was a little strange to make domestic long distance pay phone calls to USA phones in the middle of an international flight…

    IIRC one airline flew a narrow...

    Before the Soviets had a 747 “competitor,” 747 flights between Europe and Japan (and vice versa) were not permitted to fly over Russian airspace. They stayed north of Russia and refueled in Anchorage.

    Passengers were offloaded into an isolated transit terminal filled with souvenir shops. It was a little strange to make domestic long distance pay phone calls to USA phones in the middle of an international flight…

    IIRC one airline flew a narrow body aircraft between Europe and Japan and was allowed to fly over Russia.

    1. Brian Johnson Guest

      And the stuffed polar bear

  45. John Guest

    Why can't this route be sustainable? Avoidance of Russian airspace is the "new normal" but demand for travel will never die, especially between major cities and/or premium heavy routes. JAL is a long distance carrier, after all(!) And so are the other world world airlines. That's precisely why they're called 'world' airlines(!!). There's only so many times we can read about such "wild" or "crazy" or "extreme" [insert your own hyperbolic adjective] routes before it...

    Why can't this route be sustainable? Avoidance of Russian airspace is the "new normal" but demand for travel will never die, especially between major cities and/or premium heavy routes. JAL is a long distance carrier, after all(!) And so are the other world world airlines. That's precisely why they're called 'world' airlines(!!). There's only so many times we can read about such "wild" or "crazy" or "extreme" [insert your own hyperbolic adjective] routes before it gets boring.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      The cost of operating flights like this is much higher than on a pre-war, pre-covid basis even as revenues are lower. Much higher fuel burn at higher prices combined with longer routes means much higher labor costs. Technical capabilities of the aircraft don't matter if the economics don't work.

    2. John Guest

      We've been there before with high oil prices combined with fewer competing airlines and even less fuel efficient aircraft AND restricted airspace. This is absolutely nothing new in our experience. Aviation didn't stop to take a breath! The fact is, corporate travel is an indispensable way of life (despite Zoom) and will never die off. The leisure sector might take a hit, but business travel will power on despite the added cost. Nobody credible seriously...

      We've been there before with high oil prices combined with fewer competing airlines and even less fuel efficient aircraft AND restricted airspace. This is absolutely nothing new in our experience. Aviation didn't stop to take a breath! The fact is, corporate travel is an indispensable way of life (despite Zoom) and will never die off. The leisure sector might take a hit, but business travel will power on despite the added cost. Nobody credible seriously thinks Silicon Valley and Wall street (and that's just America. We're not even factoring in those other economic powerhouses Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Germany, France, Italy, the UK etc. etc.) will lay off travel for the sake of a few extra hours and a little extra $$ on the tkt. And the fact we're talking about this is a little irrelevant now. Because airlines are already doing it (and show no signs of stopping). It's happening.........

    3. Tim Dunn Diamond

      there is far more capacity in the global airline system now (or was pre-covid) than in the post 2008 financial crisis period. E. Asian airlines including JAL are operating a minimal schedule right now. Yes, a flight like this might be sustained but most global airlines are for profit companies.
      Get back w/ us in six months (post summer) and let us know how many flights are operating relative to pre-covid levels but high...

      there is far more capacity in the global airline system now (or was pre-covid) than in the post 2008 financial crisis period. E. Asian airlines including JAL are operating a minimal schedule right now. Yes, a flight like this might be sustained but most global airlines are for profit companies.
      Get back w/ us in six months (post summer) and let us know how many flights are operating relative to pre-covid levels but high fuel prices - even without airspace restrictions which result in longer flights - will decimate capacity, just as it has every other time when jet fuel hits $3 plus per gallon which it is nearly at.

  46. Emily Kristiansen Guest

    Back in the time of the Soviet Union, airlines flew this routing all the time, usually with a stop in Anchorage, Alaska. Since then ultra-long-range flights have become more normalized, so I would expect a nonstop option to continue, at least for premium markets. However, depending on how long this conflict ensues I would expect all airlines flying between Europe and Asia to make a determination on whether or not they want to switch to...

    Back in the time of the Soviet Union, airlines flew this routing all the time, usually with a stop in Anchorage, Alaska. Since then ultra-long-range flights have become more normalized, so I would expect a nonstop option to continue, at least for premium markets. However, depending on how long this conflict ensues I would expect all airlines flying between Europe and Asia to make a determination on whether or not they want to switch to Anchorage stopovers. If this conflict continues I would anticipate seeing some nonstop services with some stopover services, like Singapore Airlines does between Singapore and New York.

  47. Tim Dunn Diamond

    With jet fuel over $2.50/gallon and growing, many flights weren't sustainable before these kinds of detours given the low demand esp. to/from E. Asia but the extra time will eliminate any possibility of these flights being profitable. There will be reductions in capacity where it is necessary to add flight time like this.
    The flip side is that modern aircraft can do this, eliminating the need to stop in Anchorage which was the way...

    With jet fuel over $2.50/gallon and growing, many flights weren't sustainable before these kinds of detours given the low demand esp. to/from E. Asia but the extra time will eliminate any possibility of these flights being profitable. There will be reductions in capacity where it is necessary to add flight time like this.
    The flip side is that modern aircraft can do this, eliminating the need to stop in Anchorage which was the way the world dealt with previous airspace closures and even high winter winds across the Pacific.

  48. Never In Doubt Guest

    As long as there’s no competition able to fly a more direct route, aircraft are available, and pricing can be adjusted, why wouldn’t it be sustainable?

  49. Sean M. Diamond

    Interesting factoid - JAL used to operate flights from Tokyo to London via Moscow (with fifth freedoms) as recently as the 2000s as part of the agreement which opened up Russian overflight rights to them.

  50. RF Guest

    I think with sufficient demand between these 2 global cities they can make the route work. And if I'm flying in JAL's premium cabin, I wouldn't mind the additional time.

  51. Sarthak Guest

    You caught my intrigue with the ultra long haul economics comment.

    I regularly fly EWR-BOM. You wouldn’t think that’s one of the most premium routes globally, but their Polaris is consistently full and UA deploys their 77W (whopping 60 Polaris seats) whenever possible, except for last few months due to aircraft availability. It’s 16 hours on the way home. Maybe it’s a loss leader because there’s a LOT of O&D traffic from NJ that...

    You caught my intrigue with the ultra long haul economics comment.

    I regularly fly EWR-BOM. You wouldn’t think that’s one of the most premium routes globally, but their Polaris is consistently full and UA deploys their 77W (whopping 60 Polaris seats) whenever possible, except for last few months due to aircraft availability. It’s 16 hours on the way home. Maybe it’s a loss leader because there’s a LOT of O&D traffic from NJ that they want to retain. Lot of octogenarians from the wealthy Indian immigrant community who pay for business and now UAhas invested in Hindi speaking crews too. Point being and I agree with what you said, the unit economics of some ultra long haul flights could throw some interesting surprises.

  52. Robert Baxter Guest

    Flights from the UK to Japan operated with a fuel stop at Anchorage in the past.These flights stopped when Russian airspace opened up.

  53. Peter Guest

    Not sure why it's not sustainable... 14+ hour flights aren't that uncommon and London to Tokyo is a super premium market.

    1. Micah Member

      Correct, not only is it a super premium market, but some competition for this route has been taken out as well. I.E. Aeroflot and other options also need to deal with detours as well (Finnair also needs to go around Russian airspace).

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Levin Guest

I feel that airlines need to be politically apathetic. All of these are only going to raise questions regarding the actual control Washington has over its airlines. However I wonder how will the masses view fares and flight times. Will they find it cheaper to fly to say Southeast Asia now, for example.

1
Joe Guest

You must be young that you did not experience flying via Anchorage when flying between Europe and Japan. Those were the days that you make a stop-over in Alaska. The good old days are coming back. The Cold War between the Soviet Union and the USA, now its the EU/Nato/USA against Russia. The other routes from Europe were via the Middle East, sometimes via Colombo to South East Asia and Australia.

1
Tim Dunn Diamond

The cost of operating flights like this is much higher than on a pre-war, pre-covid basis even as revenues are lower. Much higher fuel burn at higher prices combined with longer routes means much higher labor costs. Technical capabilities of the aircraft don't matter if the economics don't work.

1
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