JAL - Japan Airlines (JL, Tokyo Haneda) will re-introduce B767 freighters 13 years after last flying them. In a May 2, 2023, statement, the airline said it would induct three B767-300ER(BCF)s by the end of FY2023 (i.e. March 31, 2024) and deploy them primarily around East Asia.

"With plans for further growth in the cargo and mail business, the company has decided to operate its own freighters," reads the statement.

JAL operates a 27-strong fleet of passenger-configured B767-300ERs, and says it will convert three of those. However, the airline was unable to say which aircraft it would convert. The airline is introducing A350-900s and A350-1000s to update its widebody passenger fleet. In the last 12 months, Japan Airlines has retired two B767-300ERs but both aircraft have gone to UPS Airlines (5X, Louisville International). Among the 27 aircraft in service, all but one (JA616J (msn 35813)) are owned by the airline and the fleet ranges in age from 11.44 years to 21.05 years. The carrier says that it plans to convert two of the aircraft this fiscal year and the third in FY2024.

JAL operated dedicated freighters until 2010 when it retired three B767-300Fs. Since then, it has relied on the available belly space in its passenger aircraft to conduct its cargo business. In its statement, the carrier gives two reasons why it is re-introducing freighters. "With the introduction of the freighter, a new business model will be established to ensure stable and growing demand," it says. Japan Airlines says this includes building relationships with logistics partners as well as operating its own freighter flights. The airline also said that it wants to improve its aircraft utilization ratio while maximizing the cargo loading ratio. Japan Airlines adds that it intends to grow its freight business "to contribute to the sustainable development of society."

According to Japan Airlines, the incoming B737-300ERBCFs can carry 32 tonnes (24 pallets) on the main deck, and 16 tonnes (three pallets plus nine containers) on the lower deck. The aircraft has a cruising distance of 10,460 kilometres.