Japan Airlines (JAL) has formally established a new company that will operate flights for its new long-haul LCC unit ahead of the planned summer 2020 launch date. The airline is expected to assigning some if it’s used Boeing 787-8s for the new carrier as it revises its own international flight frequency and fleet plans. JAL’s original 787s may also be retrofitted to feature high-density cabins.

Having announced its planned LCC venture on May 14, 2018, JAL said that its new business would specifically feature international routes, focusing on markets in Europe, Asia and North America. For that purpose, JAL said, it intended to begin operations with the startup using two Boeing 787-8s.

However, the ones JAL originally owns have low-density cabins, which are not suitable for long haul flights. It now has to decide whether to give the new LCC a 787-8 from its order book or retrofit the Group‘s existing Dreamliners, CAPA observes.

According to Boeing’s order and delivery book, as of July 2018, JAL has 39 787s in its fleet with configurations of between 161 and 186 seats. The airline operates 25 787-8s and 14 787-9s. A total of 10 orders are unfilled (four 787-8s and six 787-9s).

JAL formally incorporated the new LCC business on August 2, 2018, slightly pushing the previously announced date of July 2018. The yet-to-be-named carrier (or rather, “to-be-launched” as its interim name “TBL” indicates) is now fully owned by JAL and will be headquartered at Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT), ATW Online informs.

The Group’s executives have previously said that the new carrier will have a hybrid business model with both LCC and full-service aspects. While it will clearly focus on the international market, JAL‘s existing LCC - Jetstar Japan, established in 2012 as a joint venture with Qantas, will continue to focus domestic and short-haul international flights.

Although very few details are known about the new carrier, it seems JAL is slowly but surely moving towards its goal. It also seems that the new low-cost long-haul business is set for success, given that JAL filed a record 81% of seats in its international flights during the quarter ending on June 30, 2018, according to Reuters.

Due to the increased demand, JAL announced on August 21, 2018, it will revise the flight frequency and fleet plans on both international and domestic routes for fiscal year 2018 and on select international routes for fiscal year 2019 (which begins in April 2019).

As for its international network, JAL states it will increase capacity on its Hawaii (U.S.) and East Asia routes, and will seasonally operate the Boeing 777-300ER during the year-end and New Year period on the Tokyo - Honolulu route.

JAL will also seasonally increase flights between Tokyo and Chicago from June 8 to September 3, 2019, featuring 11 flights per week, and continue flying between Osaka and Los Angeles with its 787-9s.