JAL - Japan Airlines (JL, Tokyo Haneda) is in talks with third-party operators over the supply of freight capacity, the Japanese carrier's executive officer for cargo and mail has revealed.

In an interview with Asia Cargo News during the 2017 China Air Cargo Summit in Tianjin, Hiroo Iwakoshi said the consequences of JAL's decision to abandon dedicated-freighter operations as part of its bankruptcy restructuring plan were still being felt.

“After we suspended freighter operations, we lost some market share in China and the US, for example,” he said. “We need to expand our capacity on these routes, but unfortunately our business now relies on passenger aircraft only, so now we’re negotiating with other airlines, either ACMI carriers or traditional airlines, for additional space on those routes."

To mitigate its capacity constraints, Iwakoshi said the Japanese government has now approved JAL's use of cargo charters thereby allowing it to address any shortfalls that may occur. However, the executive added that a more comprehensive solution to this recurring problem - the reintroduction of cargo aircraft - is not on the cards until at least 2020 and even then, the plan is still unclear.

“If we operate freighters again, I’d say a minimum of 10 would be needed. That would also require a large number of pilots but it is not possible to achieve that at this point," he said.

According to the ch-aviation fleets module, the Japanese dedicated freighter market is currently split between JAL's rival ANA - All Nippon Airways (NH, Tokyo Haneda) (which operates seven B767-300(ERBCF)s and four B767-300(ERF)s and NCA - Nippon Cargo Airlines (which operates three B747-400(FSCD)s and eight B747-8(F)s).