Qantas and Japan Airlines (JAL) have announced plans to create a new Japanese low-cost carrier - Jetstar Japan. Together with Mitsubishi Corporation, the two oneworld partners plan to launch the new budget airline by the end of 2012, initially flying domestic services from Tokyo’s Narita airport and Osaka’s Kansai airport to destinations such as Sapporo, Fukuoka and Okinawa. The airline then plans to branch out into the short-haul international market, serving key Asian cities.
The airline will launch with an initial fleet of three new Airbus A320 aircraft, configured in a single-class layout with 180 seats. The Jetstar Japan fleet will then expand to 24 aircraft within its first few years. Total capitalisation commitment for the new airline is up to JPY12 billion (US$156 million), with Qantas, JAL and Mitsubishi each holding a 33.3% stake in the carrier.
Qantas Chief Executive Officer, Alan Joyce commented; “The Qantas Group has a long history of serving the Japanese air travel market, with Qantas and Jetstar operating regular services between Australia and Japan,” he said. “Qantas and JAL have a long-standing relationship, as codeshare partners and fellow oneworld alliance members. We are also delighted to be joining with Mitsubishi Corporation - one of Japan’s great global brands - to launch Jetstar Japan, building on the successful expansion of the Jetstar brand across Asia.”
“The Qantas Group has a wealth of experience in establishing low cost carriers and we're looking forward to working with our two partners on this new venture which will offer low fares to the Japanese travelling public,” Joyce added.
JAL President Masaru Onishi, who will officially launch the new carrier in Tokyo today with Jetstar Group CEO, Bruce Buchanan said the new two-airline strategy will allow JAL to compete for a larger part of the Japanese market.
“We are confident that Jetstar Japan will broaden the spectrum of travellers as it creates new demand in this market,” said Onishi. “It will encourage even more movement of people within the country and also increase the number of visitors from Asia to Japan. We anticipate this to stimulate consumer spending and play a role in revitalising the Japanese economy.”
Executive Vice President & Group CEO for Mitsubishi Corporation’s Industrial Finance, Logistics & Development Group, Hideshi Takeuchi, added; “Jetstar’s entrance to Japan, as a proven successful low-cost airline operator, will revitalise our domestic air transportation market. That is the reason for our participation, and we would like to support Jetstar Japan's success in Japan as well as eastern Asia with our variety of services such as aircraft leasing.”
Jetstar was the first low-cost airline to enter Japan in 2007, but now faces greater competition in the form of ANA’s new low-cost carrier, Peach Aviation, which plans to launch in Q1 2012, and the recently-announced AirAsia Japan.