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Skymark Airlines SWOT: IT investments to target corporates & partners. Int'l growth uncertain

Skymark Airlines, born as a low cost operation, was to be Japanese aviation's "third arrow", a competitor to ANA and JAL. Skymark entered bankruptcy rehabilitation after an ill-fated A380 order caused financial distress, was a management distraction, and prevented Skymark from improving its domestic proposition.

ANA, originally a competitor, is now a minority shareholder in Skymark. Skymark joins ANA's large airline portfolio that includes Air DO, Solaseed and StarFlyer.

Yet Skymark need not stagnate. Japan's aviation future is focused on international expansion. Skymark plans to take a few additional 737s and enter scheduled international services, ideally with new slots at Haneda.

However, this is uncertain territory for an airline that has so far only been domestic, and nearly unknown outside Japan. Skymark would be better to improve its domestic position through corporate contracts, a loyalty programme, and transfer passengers from foreign airlines, should Skymark upgrade its IT. Skymark could consider upgauging through larger narrowbodies.

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