March 3 is a special day for girls in Japan as families celebrate and pray for the happiness and health of their daughters in a popular local festival known as Hinamatsuri (Doll’s Festival). For a month leading up to Girls’ Day (as it is also commonly known), families with daughters display in their homes traditional Japanese ornamental dolls known as Hina ningyo, comprising figures of an emperor, empress, their attendants and musicians atop a 7-tier platform.
In marking this special day by expressing appreciation to customers for their support, and by showcasing the vigour and capabilities of the women in Japan Airlines’ workforce, JAL today operated a special all-girls/ladies flight from Tokyo (Haneda) to Seoul (Gimpo) with the airline’s first aircraft that has been painted with the latest red crane logo. All staff members who worked on and operated the flight today, with the only exception of the captain, were women; namely staff members supprting passenger handling at the gate, cargo loading on the ramp, maintenance of the aircraft prior to departure, as well as cabin attendants and the co-pilot.
JAL conducted Hinamatsuri Flights as well in 2009 and 2010 on domestic routes but this year, with the recent opening of Haneda’s international terminal, the designated flight today was scheduled international Flight JL091 from Tokyo to Seoul (Gimpo) which took off at 08.30am.
“I am grateful to many who supported this flight – my first with the aircraft spotting the crane livery,” said Madoka Tachikawa, co-pilot of the flight today. “Without forgetting this feeling I have of flying this special flight, I shall work hard to continually provide safe and comfortable journeys for our customers.” Ms. Tachikawa was appointed a co-pilot licensed to fly Boeing 767 aircraft in April 2006.
Almost half of the workforce at Japan Airlines are women, including 4 co-pilots, 93 maintenance staff and 76 cargo-handling staff on the airline’s operational frontlines. Last year, JAL subsidiary JAL Express welcomed the Group’s first female pilot Ms. Ari Fujii who pilots Boeing 737-400 aircraft which is currently used domestically.