JAS: the end of the rainbow

In 1983 Toa Domestic Airlines and the state jointly founded JAC - Japan Air Commuter (Nihon Air Commuter , the English words were not translated in the name), with Toa holding 60% of the shares. The circle had been completed, after a steady decrease in the number of companies due to mergers this time a new one was created. Moreover, this one went back to the roots of TDA: regional transport. In its liveries JAC maintained a similar look to TDA and JAS. At first the scheme featuring the red and green band was combined with 'Japan Air Commuter' titling on the fuselage and the characters 'JAC' big in white on the tailfin. Later on the fuselages were painted all white and had the English titles without any ornamentation on them. The tails received a simplified Airbus Rainbow striping (blue-red-yellow) with 'JAC' written in the blue part. Finally, a cartoon-like bird was added, the one JAC adopted as its mascot.

JAC started out with a very modest fleet by the way, consisting of three Do228-200s acquired from the factory: JA8835 (8007) joined JAC on September 13, 1983, JA8836 (8019) did so on November 10, 1983 and JA8866 (8124) four days later. All three went to Nishinihon Iryo Service on October 27, 1995. It was not before February 1992 that reinforcement of the fleet arrived in the shape of the Saab 340. Over the years, a total of twelve have flown for Nihon Air Commuter . Simultaneously, most of the YS-11s were transferred from the mother company to the commuter division around 1993 and the rest of them was soon to leave to operators abroad. By early 2004, all of JAC's examples still served airfields in western Japan out of Kagoshima, making the company the only civil operator of the type left around, and the biggest in the world. Additionally, the Japanese government and armed forces do have quite a fleet of operational YS-11s of their own.

Two more subsidiaries of JAS have been founded after its transformation from TDA and we are mentioning of them here because of several similarities: HAC - Hokkaido Air System . The name (once more not translated) and acronym (once more serving as the logo) are a kind of mix of those used by JAC and JAS. On the airplanes these are the only differences from those belonging to JAC, the colour schemes are identical. Hokkaido Air System was brought to life on September 30, 1997, with JAS and the northern island's government taking a share of 51% and 49% respectively. Another reason to mention this firm at this moment is the flying part of its assets, consisting of three Saab 340s and thus fitting seamlessly to the other commuter branch.

Click for large version
Kagoshima on Kyushu Island houses JAS' oldest daughter Japan Air Commuter and its turboprops are moving in & out all day. The sober colours of JA8642 are augmented by the small blue bird dressed in red, representing the company nearly everywhere. (21 March 2002)

  [1] Noted in new JAL Group colours with own titles.

 Saab 340B

281 JA8886 06feb92 JAC
308 JA8887 21aug92 JAC
331 JA8888 08feb93 JAC
355 JA8703 18jan94 JAC
361 JA8704 02jan95-26jan95 JAS - to JAC
365 JA8642 09dec94-16dec94 JAS - to JAC
368 JA8649 28jun95 JAC [1] jun03
378 JA8900 03jan96 JAC
399 JA8594 02jul96 JAC
419 JA001C 16jun97-03jul97 JAS - to JAC
432 JA01HC 03feb98 HAC [1] mar04
440 JA02HC 04jun98-23jun98 JAC - to HAC
458 JA03HC 30aug99 HAC [1] 28nov03
459 JA002C 13sep99 JAC [1] jun03
Last updated 09.05.05