All Nippon Airways (ANA) president Shinichiro Ito said the carrier is targeting annual sales of between JPY150 billion and JPY200 billion (USD1.8 billion and USD2.5 billion) in five years from its LCC subsidiaries launching in 2012, acccording the The Nikkei reports. AirAsia Japan "will add five or six planes to its fleet each year, bringing the total to 25-30 aircraft in fiscal 2016," Mr Ito noted, adding that while the LCCs will "take away some of ANA's customers, they will contribute to group earnings". Peach Aviation, meanwhile, launched operations on 01-Mar-2012. [more - CAPA Blog]
ANA expects LCC subsidiaries to achieve annual sales of USD1.8bn to USD2.5b in five years
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Jetstar Japan launches critical Osaka Kansai base as Japan posts 8% domestic traffic growth
Jetstar Japan has finally opened its second base at Osaka Kansai, becoming the first Japanese LCC to have a second base. First mooted in mid-2012 for an Oct-2012 launch, Jetstar Japan has had to delay the base primarily for falling on the bad side of Japan's regulator over not following its internal maintenance procedures. Jetstar Japan has been flying to and from Osaka Kansai but had been unable to establish a maintenance and engineering base that would allow for more flexible operations.
Jetstar Japan is growing Osaka Kansai capacity by 53% but only by adding services on its existing four routes. All four destinations – Fukuoka, Naha, Sapporo and Tokyo Narita – have service from Kansai-based Peach. Peach will have a larger presence in all of those markets except Tokyo Narita. Peach also serves other domestic destinations from Kansai and has an international network; Jetstar Japan is only domestic and is Japan's fourth-largest domestic carrier.
The Kansai base is critical to boosting Jetstar Japan's utilisation, which has significantly lagged its main LCC competitor Peach.
Japan's expanding LCCs drive growth but need cultivating; Spring Airlines and AirAsia re-entry loom
The new wave of low-cost carriers in Japan are entering their third year of operations, with Peach Aviation passing the milestone in Mar-2014 and Jetstar Japan doing so in Jul-2014. Along with AirAsia Japan (launched in Aug-2012 and re-launched in Dec-2013 as Vanilla Air) and a number of preceding LCCs, they are not only delivering on Japan's objective to raise passenger figures but are seeing LCCs become a serious force in Japan. In the last nine months of 2013 LCCs carried 17% of passengers in Japan's domestic market while for the first three months of 2014 they offer 24% – nearly one quarter – of available seat capacity, according to OAG.
The three new LCCs – Peach, Jetstar and Vanilla – carried 6% of traffic. While depressed from the AirAsia/Vanilla switch, it marks a start for the first carriers to eliminate all frills, unlike predecessors such as Skymark, which alone carried 7% of traffic. The adoption to LCCs in Japan is slow, and there were some early painful lessons, but growth is near-guaranteed. Jetstar Japan added nearly as many seats as JAL while Peach added nearly as many seats as ANA. Meanwhile ANA and JAL project long-term decreases in Japan's domestic market. Further, Jun-2014 sees the launch of Spring Airlines Japan with domestic flights and in the future international services, mainly to China. This is the first (but will not be the last) international JV for China's Spring Airlines. AirAsia is also looking to re-enter. However, five new LCCs plus three existing mean excessive market fragmentation.
Although it may challenge the epithet that airlines never die in Japan, consolidation is in order. But more importantly, until prevailing legacy attitudes are redirected towards supporting economic expansion goals, LCCs will continue to labour under unnecessary handicaps.