New discount carrier A&F Aviation Co. plans to offer “overwhelmingly low fares” to attract passengers from Japan and abroad, Chief Executive Officer Shinichi Inoue said Thursday.
“It is the mission of (the low-cost carrier) to offer overwhelmingly low fares rather than deprive existing carriers of passengers,” Inoue said in an interview, referring to the need for the airline launched Thursday with funds from All Nippon Airways Co. and Hong Kong’s First Eastern Investment Group, to make an appeal to new customers.
By offering low fares, “we will make the whole aviation demand bigger by boosting potential demand,” Inoue, 52, said, adding the airline will target tourists and people seeking to meet up with relatives from afar.
The airline plans to start both domestic and international flights in the second half of its 2011 business year.
To offer cheap fares, the airline, which will be based at Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture, will increase the operating time of its aircraft and cram more seats into each one, Inoue said.
It also plans to offer minimal service and charge customers for extras like meals and blankets, said Inoue, who headed ANA’s joint venture project team A&F.
Amid intensifying competition from Malaysian budget airline AirAsia X and others, Inoue said his airline will be able to secure distinct advantages by offering short-haul flights to China and South Korea.
“As our budget is likely to be severe in the first three years, we expect to start offering services to places where we can secure some profits,” Inoue said.
The low-cost airline will start with three or four routes and a handful of planes. Before it starts, however, the new company plans to change its name, devise a new brand and raise an additional ¥15 billion from domestic investors.
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