Asia set for low-cost carrier boom

15 Jul 2011 by BusinessTraveller

Asia's airlines are lining up to launch a raft of low-cost carriers, with ANA, Japan Airlines, SIA, Thai Airways, Jetstar and Air Asia all planning new budget airlines.

ANA has already announced intentions to launch Peach Aviation in 2012 (see online news May 27), a joint venture with Hong Kong-based First Eastern Investment Group operating domestic and international routes from Osaka Kansai.

According to Kansai airport’s website the first routes under the Peach Aviation brand will be to Fukuoka in March next year, and Seoul in May 2012.

Singapore Airlines is also set to launch its own as yet unnamed low-cost carrier (see online news May 25), and Thai Airways is to team up with Tiger Airways to form Thai Tiger, although the launch date for this carrier has slipped several times (see online news October 25, 2010). The Bangkok-based carrier is also planning the launch of another airline, Thai Wings, and already operates regional budget carrier Nok Air.

This week there have been reports of two new joint venture budget carriers, with ANA looking to team up with Air Asia, and JAL set to form a low-cost carrier with Australia’s Jetstar.

The possible ANA-Air Asia agreement, reported by several regional websites including The Star Online, is likely to serve domestic and regional markets under the brand Air Asia Japan. It’s not clear how any such tie-up would affect ANA’s forthcoming Peach Aviation.

Meanwhile it has also been reported that Japan Airlines and Qantas subsidiary Jetstar are considering a low-cost joint venture carrier operating from Tokyo Narita and other domestic airports, with an agreement possible by the end of this month.

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Report by Mark Caswell

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