AirAsia Bhd., Southeast Asia's biggest budget carrier, is close to restarting plans for a Japanese unit after its partnership with ANA Holdings Inc. unraveled in June, Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes said.

"Japan is a market we are very bullish on," Fernandes said in an interview in London on Friday. The Sepang, Malaysia-based airline has lined up local partners and plans to commence service next year, the executive said.

The carrier, with units in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, expects to begin service with a new Indian venture in March as it aims to expand its regional reach. ANA, which took over AirAsia Japan Co. after almost a year of operating because of a disagreement over strategy, has rebranded the unit Vanilla Air, leaving Fernandes to reformulate plans.