Japanese LCCs Center of Attention at North Asia Aviation Summit - 3 Carriers' Reps Join Panel Discussion

Japanese LCCs Center of Attention at North Asia Aviation Summit - 3 Carriers' Reps Join Panel Discussion

Peach Aviation non-executive director Patrick Murphy, AirAsia Japan representative Zaman bin Ahmad (the airline's regional head) and Jetstar Japan CEO Miyuki Suzuki

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Members of north Asia's aviation industry held an international summit in Macao on September 5 and 6 at the Venetian Macao-Resort Hotel. At the summit, Japan's three low-cost carriers (LCCs), who have commenced service on a string of new routes this year, garnered the attention of professionals in the industry.

The summit, covering "LCCs and New Age Airlines in North Asia," was hosted by the Centre for Aviation (CAPA), the world's largest provider of aviation market intelligence. The event attracted around 160 speakers and discussion panel participants, who included representatives from CAPA members from around the world (airlines, airport operators, aircraft manufacturers and air service providers) and researchers from universities and market intelligence firms. There they discussed and analyzed the current state and future growth of the aviation market -particularly with regards to LCCs in Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan and elsewhere in north Asia- through presentations and themed panel discussions by aviation industry professionals.

The presentations and discussions covered subjects such as regulations and issues airlines face when entering north Asian markets; the effects of LCCs on airport operations and the travel industry; analysis of the current state of the aviation market in each country; and the potential future growth of the LCC business model. Industry insiders and experts also fielded questions from attendees.

Three hot topics in north Asian markets that came up repeatedly were the lead South Korea is taking in the LCC business, Chinese regulations and the three Japanese LCCs that commenced operations this year. Although Japan has a large and mature travel market, the LCC business model was unable to penetrate it due to regulatory hurdles and other issues. But then things suddenly changed this year, drawing the intense interest of summit attendees. Japanese participants were peppered with questions on matters such as Japan's regulatory framework; operations at Kansai, Narita, Haneda and other airports; competition with the Shinkansen high-speed rail network; consumer behavior; and what makes the Japanese market different from others.

Joining the panel discussion on the Japanese market were Jetstar Japan CEO Miyuki Suzuki, AirAsia Japan representative Zaman bin Ahmad (the airline's regional head) and Peach Aviation non-executive director Patrick Murphy, who talked about their carriers' business expansion and the state of the Japanese market. A CAPA official said, "This may have been the first time representatives from all three airlines have sat together in an official capacity."

Another much discussed topic was the new "hybrid LCC" aviation business model. Participants talked about the expansion of current LCC services, the addition of long-haul routes, the possibility of introducing mileage programs, cost management and the like. CAPA also terms this type of business model a "new age airline."

The points the two-day summit emphasized included the the growth of LCCs will lead to new travel demand as well as new and bigger markets, and that LCCs will provide widespread economic benefits across north Asia and the world within and outside the aviation industry.