AirAsia Japan announced by ANA and AirAsia

ANA Group and AirAsia have announced a joint venture to create AirAsia Japan, to be based at Narita International Airport.

Operating under the AirAsia brand, the carrier will serve both domestic and international destinations when operations begin in August 2012, subject to obtaining the relevant approvals.

ANA says it has been seeking opportunities to launch a new low-cost business based at Narita and decided that partnering with an existing low-fare airline would be the most efficient and strategically advantageous option.

“By combining AirAsia’s business model and brand with ANA’s depth of knowledge of the Japanese market, we aim to bring new value to our customers, offer diverse and enjoyable travel experiences, and generate new demand,” declared Shinichiro Ito, president and CEO of ANA. “We believe that AirAsia Japan will make air travel more accessible and provide a convenient and efficient travel option for a wide range of people.”

Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia, noted, “We are proud to extend AirAsia’s successful low-cost business model to Japan and further provide opportunities for everyone to fly to the destinations of their dreams with low fares. AirAsia Japan will not only boost economic growth between ASEAN and East Asia by providing better access to markets around the region, but also enhance links within travel, trade and tourism. AirAsia is proud to be identified as a low cost carrier partner to ANA, a very respected, credible and successful airline in Japan. This new joint venture is an important milestone in AirAsia’s growth as ANA is the very first airline partner to form a joint venture with AirAsia.”

On a Voting-right-share basis, ANA will have 67% and AirAsia 33% in the JV, while on a capital basis, the split is ANA 51%, AirAsia 49%. The JV begins with capital of JPY 5 billion. AirAsia Japan will be formally established in August and will apply for its Air Operators’ Certificate (AOC) during September and October.

ANA’s other low-fare airline subsidiary, Peach, is setting up at Kansai Airport in Osaka and part of the JV agreement is that it will not be able to create a base in Narita. Otherwise, the two carriers will pursue their own development strategies.

And while AirAsia Japan will operate from Narita from next year, according to its CEO Azran Osman-Rani, AirAsia X will continue to fly into Haneda for the foreseeable future. Linking with AirAsia Japan is not out of the question though. “A number of airlines serve both airports,” he noted.

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