ANA and AirAsia are to form a joint venture budget carrier under the brand AirAsia Japan, based at Tokyo Narita airport and serving domestic and international destinations from August 2012.
In a press release the carriers said that ANA had been “seeking opportunities to launch a new low-cost business based at Narita and, after analysis, has concluded that partnering with an existing low-cost carrier is the most efficient and strategically advantageous option”.
Equally Air Asia said that it has been “seeking a business partner with strong Japanese market influence to further expand its scope”.
The carriers said that Narita airport “is seeking to increase capacity with the introduction of a new terminal and is expected to attract many low-cost carriers and foreign airlines”.
This would certainly seem to be the case, with a raft of Asian carriers including SIA, Thai Airways and Japan Airlines currently planning or have already launched low-cost subsidiaries. For more information on the low-cost aviation boom in Asia, click here.
What is not clear is whether this agreement between ANA and Air Asia will have any impact on the planned launch of Peach Aviation – ANA’s own low-cost subsidiary set to commence flights from Osaka in March next year. It is understood that as part of the agreement Peach will not establish a base at Tokyo Narita.
Report by Mark Caswell