Brazilian RJs in the Skies over Japan - Flown by JAL and now FDA

Airlines are continuing to introduce the Embraer 170, the Brazilian regional jet, on routes in Japan.

A regional jet (RJ) is a small passenger plane that seats 100 or fewer people. Outside Japan, aircraft manufacturers Bombardier in Canada and Embraer in Brazil build a number of jets, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Japan is continuing development of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ). Airlines in the United States and Europe have continued to introduce Brazilian-made RJs for their high fuel efficiency, and this year Japanese carriers are ramping up their introduction in Japan.

J-Air, based in Nishikasugai District, Aichi Prefecture and part of the JAL Group, began operating the group’s first Embraer 170, with seating for 76, on its Nagoya (Komaki)-Fukuoka route on February 1. The company said it will introduce ten of the aircraft by the end of 2009, which in addition to their high operational efficiency feature “outstanding interior comfort and state-of-the-art equipment.”

On February 24, Fuji Dream Airlines (FDA), the new carrier headquartered in Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Prefecture whose hub will be at Mt. Fuji Shizuoka Airport (slated to open in June this year), also acquired its first Embraer 170. FDA has already received permission from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism to operate as an airline, and starting in July it plans to fly between Shizuoka and Komatsu (two daily roundtrip flights), Kumamoto (one daily roundtrip flight) and Kagoshima (one daily roundtrip flight). The carrier will acquire its second Embraer 170 in June.

While airlines are deciding to reduce some regional routes to deal with a difficult business environment, they are proceeding with efforts such as using smaller aircraft on existing routes and are improving operating cost efficiency. They expect to stimulate fresh aviation and travel demand by introducing aircraft like those made in Brazil, and FDA says that it “aims to construct a new business model with next-generation aircraft.”