The post-pandemic world has brought a ray of normality and hope for the travel and tourism industry. The industry has prepared to relaunch pre-pandemic revenue plans. TTJ was recently in talks with Shinya Naruse, Vice President and Regional Manager (India) of Japan Airlines, discussing some important aspects of their return to action plan. Read on to find out more.
– Vartik Sethi
When COVID-19 wreaked havoc around the world, Japan Airlines (JAL) was one of the first airlines to adapt its services to meet the needs of its passengers. JAL quickly adapted its services to ensure the utmost safety of its customers and strictly adhered to the motto “Your Safety, Our Priority” while continuing to serve communities by operating repatriation flights.
In a welcome move by Japan Airlines, their policies regarding refunds for canceled trips, as well as allowing free rebookings, during these difficult times, demonstrate JAL’s loyalty to its esteemed guests. The pandemic, in fact, hampered their plans to launch a daily direct flight from Bengaluru to Tokyo in March 2020, but they operated flights under the well-established India-Japan air travel bubble. when they made their first repatriation flight from Bengaluru to Tokyo. April 12, 2020.
Asked about the situation on the ground, they replied that currently Japan Airlines operates four weekly flights from Delhi and two weekly flights from Bengaluru to Tokyo. From October 2022, they will increase flights from Delhi to five weekly flights and three weekly flights from Bengaluru, also providing seamless connectivity to key destinations in North America, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver and even more, via Tokyo. In terms of destinations, Japan is arguably one of the most amazing tourist destinations in the world, offering a wide variety of unique experiences.
Japan’s “golden route”, which includes Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hiroshima, is a popular way for first-time visitors to experience Japan, but for regular visitors Hokkaido, Aomori and Yamagata to the north, as well as Kagoshima and Okinawa in southern Japan each has its own beauty and wonders to discover. JAL operates an extensive nationwide network in Japan, and visitors can easily cover more places using JAL’s Japan Explorer Pass which is as affordable as 5,500 JPY one way on select routes. Asked about their plans for expansion into Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, they said increased demand would be a sure path to expansion.
JAL takes its carbon footprint seriously and has made amends to meet its SDG targets. JAL is one of only seven airlines to receive APEX’s first World Class 2022 certification, a testament to its industry-leading approach to safety, sustainability and overall passenger experience. JAL has also introduced a free COVID-19 insurance plan so passengers can travel with peace of mind. Including excellent products, JAL believes in continuous innovation and investment in technology to create magnificent experiences for passengers.
In addition to the sustainability goal, JAL has launched a program that visualizes the volume of carbon emissions produced by business travel with “JAL Carbon Offset”. In response to requests from customers who are very interested in preserving the environment and preventing global warming, since 2009 the JAL Group has offered JAL Carbon Offset as an option to offset the CO2 emitted by aircraft boarding. In the newly launched program, the volume of CO2 emissions consumed during business travel by plane will be visualized for each company and organization. During your participation, the monthly quantities of CO2 emissions will be communicated to you by e-mail, and your company or organization will be able to create an account and access the dedicated site.
JAL shared that the post-COVID traveler displays certain trends and patterns that are important to airlines. The shopping habits and outlook of today’s travelers have changed markedly in some respects compared to the pre-COVID era. People are now more willing to pay a higher price for ticket flexibility, such as fares that allow free changes and refunds, as it gives them greater peace of mind in times of uncertainty and sudden change . The pandemic has also prompted a move to digital and they are seeing an increase in direct bookings on the airline’s online platform. That said, they also see people turning to offline bookings as they feel more comfortable having someone to help them through the complicated process of preparing all the necessary paperwork and procedures before the travel.