ANA budget airline to be renamed

JIJI, Kyodo

ANA Holdings Inc. said its AirAsia Japan low-cost airline unit will end operations at the end of October and restart under a different name around year’s end.

The reinstituted budget carrier will remain based at Narita International Airport and Central Japan International Airport in Aichi Prefecture, ANA said Tuesday.

The revamped airline will focus on international flights mainly for resorts.

The five aircraft used by AirAsia Japan will be returned to former partner and major Malaysian discount airline AirAsia.

ANA Holdings, the parent of All Nippon Airways, took full control of AirAsia Japan in June. It previously was a joint venture with AirAsia.

The revamped airline will start with two planes and bring its fleet back to five by next March.

Tomonori Ishii, an ex-ANA official who is general manager for sales at Japanese airline AirDo, will be the new airline’s president.

Referring to customer complaints that AirAsia Japan’s online reservation system is complicated, ANA Senior Vice President Shinzo Shimizu said at a news conference the new system will be easier to use.

ANA also said it will acquire Pan Am Holdings Inc. and its subsidiaries for $139.5 million (¥13.7 billion), to strengthen its pilot training services.

ANA will buy Florida-based Pan Am, which provides pilot training, and its units including Pan Am International Flight Academy, from investment fund American Capital Ltd. and other shareholders, utilizing part of the funds ANA raised through its public offering last year.