JAL, Asia's largest airline by revenue, has filed for bankruptcy. Japan Airlines has operated since 1951 on routes to America and also Europe.
It seems a great era is about the end. Once great airlines like BOAC, Pan Am or TWA are of course no more. Air France has merged with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and Lufthansa has acquired Austrian Airlines. When will KAL, Korean Air (based in Seoul) or China Airlines (based in Taiwan) face the new realities? And what about Air China, based in Beijing?
Easy jet travel, i e convenient flights, wonderful service with meals and drinks, in flight entertainment - it could all end soon. We have taken it for granted for a long time. But with peak oil and climate change worries, the never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a long adjustment to economic realities here in Japan, no wonder people are a little reluctant to travel abroad. How different from 20 years ago, when I first lived in Japan!?
"How to Fly, Japanese Style.
Slip into a happi coat. Part robe, part sports coat. The Japanese dress up even to relax.
Sake, champagne, wine. And a platter of cheese to snack from in between.
JAL's flight kit includes slippers, fan, city guide, toothbrush, travel wallet - and eyeshades!
Hot oshibori towels. Or, how to freshen up without getting up.
Kobe. The world's most tender beef.
Tsukidashi. The delicious word for Japanese hors d'oeuvres.
Beluga caviar. Lobster plate. When it's cocktail time on JAL, we treat you like a king. Cuisine à la Japanese. A perfect introduction to Japan.
Artichoke hearts. Carrots aglow in butter. And the steak is cooked to order.
...At JAL, we glory in the small things of life. From our first hello to our last sayonara, we take the small attentions and courtesies so much for granted, they are our way of life.
It's a way of life practiced by us and our ancestors of generations beyond number.
In that sense, you could say we've been practicing how to fly for a thousand years and more."
JAL is not so different from Scandinavian Airlines or Swiss Air. In a deregulated era, the concept of a "flag" carrier or a national airline has ceased to be functional, and JAL has to bite the bullet.
I don't get to fly much these days. I have visited some 25 countries over the years for work, as I had to attend conferences and all kinds of meetings. At one point, I did love the thrill. I also had several opportunities to personally fly small aircrafts, both in Sweden and in the United States. As I made that huge, long turn, I got to love the view of Mt Chasta, a very special place.
How are we going to deal with the changes that are clearly ahead of us? Are we going to educate the next generation to believe in peace and understanding, rather than in confrontation and cut-throat competition? JAL was for a very long time a model for young ladies and pilots who wanted to learn English and look great.
Can we find better models for spiritual growth, today? How do we tell young people that no, there may not be so many opportunities for hard work on huge jets, you should prepare for an era with more local services, less easy jet travel. But you should keep your international focus, and not forget about the world...
Mainichi: Japan Airlines files for bankruptcy
The bankruptcy represents a humbling outcome for Japan's once-proud flagship carrier which was founded in 1951 and came to symbolize the country's rapid economic growth. The state-owned airline expanded quickly in the decades after World War II and was privatized in 1987.
Meanwhile, it was not so long ago, in 1957, that SAS was the first airline to offer "Round the world service over the North Pole" via the North Pole shortcut Copenhagen-Anchorage-Tokyo. The 1955 memorial is a rune stone erected in memory of the first direct flight from Scandinavia to Haneda Airport, Tokyo, Japan...
(Photo of JAL 1974 ad from Vintage Ads)
Blogs I Like
- Ad B: Japan Navigator
- Adventures of a (Swedish) Salariman in Tokyo
- Amy: Blue Lotus
- Boing Boing: Wonderful Things
- Brendan: UNU OurWorld 2.0
- Hiroko & Rick: Itadakimasu
- Jared B: Tokyo Green Space
- Joan: Popcorn Homestead
- Jon: Toshogu or As I See Japan... From L.A.
- Justin B: The Rational Pessimist (Climate & Risk)
- Kat: Food Adventures in Japan
- Ken: KenElwood in semi-rural Japan
- Mari: Watashi to Tokyo
- MTC: Shisaku
- Otakimura: In The Pines
- P: Pacific Islander
- Peko Peko: Kyoto Foodie
- Richard H: Spike Japan
- Risa & Kirk: Savory Japan
- Robert: Pure Land Mountain
- Shizuoka Gourmet
- Ten Thousand Things
- Tom: Kitchen Garden in Japan
Links I Like
- News: About Sweden in English
- News: BBC
- News: Der Spiegel (Germany) in English
- News: Deutche Welle
- News: FT Asia (UK, EU)
- News: Kyoto Journal (Japan)
- News: NHK World Society & Others (Japan)
- News: People's Daily (China)
- News: Telegraph (UK)
- News: The Local (Sweden)
- News: Yomiuri Online (Japan)
- News: Yonhap (Korea)
- NGOs/News: Organic Consumers Association (US)
- NGOs: Amnesty
- NGOs: Consumers Union (US) Food
- NGOs: Consumers Union of Japan
- NGOs: Greenpeace
- NGOs: Greenz.jp
- NGOs: Japan for Sustainability
- NGOs: Japan Organic Agriculture Association
- NGOs: Japan Vegetarian Society
- Shops: Alishan Organic Center
- Shops: Eco to Waza (GreenJapan)
- Shops: Warabe Mura
- Stuff: Japan Probe