Qantas Group, Japan Airlines and Mitsubishi Corporation have come together to form Jetstar Japan, a new low-cost carrier in Japan, adding to the ever-growing list of low-cost carriers across the Asia-Pacific.
The three partners will each hold equal shares in the new company, which is scheduled to commence operations by late 2012.
Though the base of Jetstar Japan has yet to be announced, the carrier will initially fly from Tokyo and Osaka to Sapporo, Fukuoka and Okinawa with plans to expand to “key Asian cities,” states the press release.
The carrier will begin operations with a fleet of three single aisle Airbus A320 aircraft, configured with 180 seats, and will eventually expand to 24 aircraft.
JAL president, Masaru Onishi, said: “We are confident that Jetstar Japan will broaden the spectrum of travellers as it creates new demand in this market. We anticipate this to stimulate consumer spending and play a role in revitalizing the Japanese economy.”
JAL’s competitor, All Nippon Airways (ANA), is also ready to launch two of its own low-cost projects: Peach Aviation (see story here) and AirAsia ANA (see story here), a joint venture with AirAsia. These together with Jetstar Japan will flesh out the currently meagre low-cost carrier market in the country, which only consists of four players that focus on domestic travel at the moment: Skymark Airlines, Air Do, Skynet Asia and Star Flyer.
Japan’s low-cost carrier boom is a consequence of a rapid growth in that market sector across Asia-Pacific. Not only has AirAsia forged four partnerships across the region and several new LCCs have sprouted up, but legacy carriers are also stepping into the game with their own subsidiaries (see story here).
According to a study by the University of British Columbia titled Air Transport Policy Consistent with Japan’s New Economic Strategy, LCCs bring more economic benefits for the country they are based in than major, full-service airlines. Currently, these make up only 5 percent of the market share in the Asia-Pacific region, compared with 20 and 30 percent in Europe and North America respectively therefore the rapid growth is necessary and embraced.