Sky’s the limit for Skymark if ANA drops more routes

Skymark Airlines Co. will operate more airplanes and routes if All Nippon Airways Co. expands its withdrawal plans beyond terminating its Haneda-Aomori and Haneda-Tokushima flights, Skymark President Takashi Ide told a news conference Friday.

During the news conference, Ide formally announced that Skymark will operate two daily flights between Tokyo’s Haneda and Aomori and between Haneda and Tokushima beginning April 25, filling slots that will be vacated by ANA.

The cost of launching and operating the two new routes will be minimized as the company will lease a secondhand Boeing 767, Skymark’s fourth plane, Ide said.

According to Ide, ANA may withdraw from other routes to focus its resources on profitable operations and compete against the airline behemoth created by the management integration of Japan Airlines and Japan Air System earlier this month.

Ide said Skymark now plans to operate its fifth and sixth aircraft by next fall on routes that would otherwise be occupied solely by the JAL-JAS group in the event of an ANA withdrawal.

Skymark said it now carries out ground-handling operations and aircraft maintenance by itself, boasting that it has the lowest cost-structure of all domestic carriers.

“The operating efficiency has become very high and we are competitive on any route, compared with any other companies,” Ide said.

Skymark entered the airline industry in 1998 as the first new airline in Japan in 35 years.

Offering low-cost services, it currently operates two routes — the Haneda-Fukuoka route and the Haneda-Kagoshima route.