AirAsia Japan Starts 2 Domestic Routes as 3 Japanese LCCs Make Waves in "First Year of the LCC Era"

AirAsia Japan Starts 2 Domestic Routes as 3 Japanese LCCs Make Waves in

Air Asia Japan's A320.

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On August 1, AirAsia Japan Co., Ltd. commenced service on two domestic routes connecting its hub at Narita International Airport with New Chitose and Fukuoka.

The airline is a joint venture between All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. (ANA) and Malaysia-based AirAsia Berhad, among other investors. AirAsia Japan has aroused attention prior to its first flights for many reasons. It is cutting costs by offering simple cabin service and basing itself at Narita Airport, even though AirAsia Japan will serve domestic routes while Narita is an international airport far removed from downtown Tokyo. This strategy will cut regular airfares down to one-third that charged by major airlines. Other attention-getters have been the "cheerful and fun" cabin attendants, along with unprecedentedly low fares during a limited-time campaign. The LCC began flying a Narita-Naha route on August 3.

Elsewhere in Japan, Peach Aviation Limited, which counts All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. (ANA) among its investors and is based at Kansai International Airport, commenced service last March, while Jetstar Japan Co., Ltd., based at Narita and in which Japan Airlines Co., Ltd. (JAL) has a stake, did so in July. These two Japanese airlines, along with AirAsia Japan, have inaugurated "the first year of the LCC era" by each offering commercial flights starting in 2012. Price competition and expanding customer bases are anticipated. With each company rapidly expanding their domestic and international flight networks and the opening of dedicated LCC terminals at Naha, Kansai, Narita and other airports, LCCs should gain more recognition and enhance their presence in the Japanese market.