ANA, AirAsia tie up for budget carrier


Staff Writer

All Nippon Airways Co. and AirAsia Bhd., Southeast Asia’s biggest budget carrier, announced Thursday they together will launch a new low-cost carrier in Japan, aiming to cultivate new demand and survive intensifying competition.

AirAsia Japan Co. will be based at Narita International Airport and is expected to start both domestic and international flight operations in August 2012.

The two airlines didn’t say what routes the new budget carrier was hoping to fly.

Its fares will be about a third or half the price of existing carriers, said Shinichiro Ito, ANA’s president and CEO, adding the carrier aims to operate more than 30 aircraft by around 2016.

The joint venture is scheduled to be established next month with ¥5 billion in capital, they said. ANA will own 67 percent and AirAsia will hold the remaining 33 percent on a voting rights basis.

Intensifying competition in the Japanese aviation market “is a huge threat and at the same time, it is a huge business opportunity. And we’ve been thinking what we can do. One of the answers is to establish AirAsia Japan,” Ito said.

Tony Fernandes, AirAsia’s group CEO, said the new low-cost carrier will help boost economic growth in Japan. “We see an enormous potential in Japan, not just for outbound flights. There is a tremendous number of people (overseas) who want to come to Japan,” he said.

AirAsia Japan will be ANA’s consolidated subsidiary, but its business model will be based on AirAsia Bhd.