31 May 2012

AirAsia Bhd's 49% owned joint-venture with ANA set to launch operations on Japan's domestic routes with daily flights from Narita to Fukuoka, Okinawa and Sapporo starting 1 August 2012

(AIRASIA opening stock price today (31.5.2012) was RM 3.51)

AIRASIA Bhd is confident of rapidly growing its operations in Japan via AirAsia Japan, although it faces competition from other low-cost carriers such as Peach Aviation and JetStar Japan.

AirAsia group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said AirAsia has the advantage of networks as well as a fleet of 100 aircraft, making it easier for people to travel to various places and at an affordable price.

"We can fly on AirAsia X to Kuala Lumpur (KL) and from KL to Bali. From Bali you can go to Australia. You can't do that with Peach Aviation. You can do a little bit with JetStar but no one has the network that we have," he told reporters after the launch of AirAsia Japan's direct flights to Sapporo, Fukuoka and Okinawa yesterday.

This year marks the beginning of an era for budget air travel in Japan with the launch of three low cost airlines that includes Peach Aviation, JetStar Japan and AirAsia Japan.

Peach Aviation started its operations last March. The company is a joint venture between All Nippon Airways (ANA) and First Eastern Investment Group. It started operations in March this year.

JetStar Japan will start operations in July this year. The company is owned by Qantas (33.3 per cent), Japan Airlines (33.3 per cent), Mitsubishi Corp (16.7 per cent) and Century Tokyo Leasing Corp (16.7 per cent).

Speaking on Japan's aviation market, Fernandes said it is undergoing rapid transformation and developments, thus AirAsia is confident that it will derive excellent load factors and stimulate tourism in the country.

"I think the operations in Japan will be very big. The population of Japan is five times that of Malaysia," he said.

AirAsia Japan is a joint venture between AirAsia and ANA. AirAsia holds 49 per cent of the share while the latter owns 51 per cent.

Based at Narita International airport, AirAsia Japan will start its operations in August this year with three aircrafts. It also plans to have 25 aircraft over the next three years.

Without any restrictions to fly only in Japan, Fernandes said AirAsia Japan have plans to fly to China, Korea, Taiwan and Russia while hinting that the airline might also fly to Vladivostok due to the big market there.

AirAsia Japan is set to launch operations on domestic routes with daily flights from Narita to Fukuoka, Okinawa and Sapporo starting August 1.

The airline is offering promotion for 10,000 seats from as low as RM0.20 (YEN5).

To ensure that the new airline offers access domestically across its new destinations in Japan, AirAsia X, the long-haul low offers promotional fares from as low as RM399 (YEN 14,000), one way from Kuala Lumpur to Haneda International Airport (Tokyo).

Source: www.btimes.com.my


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