Japan Airlines is to suspend its Heathrow-Osaka service next spring, leaving London without a direct connection to the city.
The daily Boeing 777 flight to Kansai will cease on March 29, leaving JAL with only its daily Tokyo service from Heathrow.
Osaka is one of three long-haul routes to be cut by JAL, which has been forced by the high oil price to undertake its biggest operational review since 2002. In all, JAL is suspending 12 routes and decreasing frequency on four others, but increasing frequency on five intra-Asia services.
A JAL spokeswoman said the carrier would offer good connections from Tokyo to both Kansai and Itami airports in Osaka.
JAL”s Osaka service arrives at Heathrow at 14.35 and departs at 16.35. The spokeswoman said it was not known what JAL would do with the seven daily slots that become vacant at Heathrow. The mid and late afternoon slots would be attractive to other airlines, although they are not as valuable as peak hour timings.
Before the Osaka route is suspended, JAL will introduce its Premium Economy product onto the Heathrow service. It will be available on flights leaving London on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from November 1 and on all services from November 29.
JAL is not alone in cutting services to Japan from Heathrow. British Airways has already confirmed plans to drop its Heathrow-Tokyo service from two to one a day from December 7.
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