Miyuki Suzuki's appointment as Jetstar Japan CEO marks second female executive for Jetstar Group

Jetstar Japan announced on 10-Oct-2011 a few milestones towards its way late 2012 launch, including the appointment of Miyuki Suzuki as CEO, effective 01-Dec-2011. Ms Miyuki, a former CEO of Japanese telecommunications and IT services company KVH Co, will be the second female CEO at a Jetstar Group company, joining Chong Phit Lian, who is CEO of Singapore-based Jetstar Asia.

Commenting on the appointment, Jetstar CEO Bruce Buchanan noted in an interview with The Australian, "The aviation industry in Japan has been male dominated for a long time. Japanese women are, I think, the most underemployed anywhere in the world. A female CEO is another big signal of how radically we want to change the market up here."

Jetstar Japan was required to have a Japanese chief executive, although Mr Buchanan said it was always the intention to appoint a Japanese executive to the position. "When you have a large workforce and a lot of stakeholders, (and for) understanding the local consumer markets, it's critical to have a local CEO to get the best out of the business," he said.

In a news conference in Tokyo, Mr Bruce Buchanan said Ms Suzuki's experience of working in start-up industries and in sectors going through deregulation will be key assets in heading the subsidiary.

As previously analysed in detail in a CAPA – Centre for Aviation Airline Leader report from Aug-2011,

The airline industry is notorious for its “boysy” silhouette, with a scarcity of female CEOs of commercially significant airlines across the world, as CAPA boardroom magazine Airline Leader wrote in an Aug-2011 feature. In a review of the profiles of over 200 airlines around the world, Airline Leader found that half of the world's women airline CEOs/MDs head low-cost carriers, including easyJet, SkyExpress, Spring Airlines, Thomson Airways and Jetstar Asia. Beijing Capital Airlines, in China, also has a female CEO, Zhu Kai.

See the original article: Why don't women run airlines?

Jetstar Japan receives first round of funding

The CEO announcement for Jetstar Japan comes after the Jetstar Japan Board met for the first time in Tokyo on 07-Oct-2011 to discuss progress towards the start of domestic services in Japan by the end of 2012. Among other milestones noted by the airline’s board were the formal incorporation of Jetstar Japan and receipt of the first round of funding from project partners Japan Airlines, Mitsubishi Corporation and the Qantas (Jetstar) Group. Following the meeting, Mr Buchanan commented: "The business is well on track: we have completed the first round of funding, we have had our first board meeting and we have appointed a CEO".

The JV will initially be capitalised at around JPY3 billion (USD39 million), increasing to JPY12 billion (USD156 million) after the commencement of operations, but excludes the cost of aircraft. The three investment partners will each hold a third of the company in terms of voting rights, although Qantas and Japan Airlines will each contribute 42% of the total investment, with Mitsubishi contributing a smaller 16%. As per Japan regulations, foreign interests may not hold more than one third of a Japanese airline.

Jetstar Group CEO Bruce Buchanan also stated that negotiations with a range of potential suppliers and business partners, including airports across Japan, were "progressing well". Several airports in Japan, the world's third-largest domestic aviation market after the US and China, are vying to be the company's operation base. The carrier has previously stated it expects to operate from Tokyo Narita and Osaka Kansai International, both served by Jetstar, with other destinations under consideration including Sapporo, Fukuoka and Okinawa. Jetstar Japan also plans to ultimately offer short-haul international services to key Asian cities, with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce separately stating international services will commence within a year of launch.

Jetstar Japan's fleet will comprise an initial three 180-seat single-class A320 aircraft as part of an order for up to 110 A320s and A320neos that was announced in Aug-2011 and finalised in Oct-2011. Jetstar Japan plans to grow its fleet to 24 aircraft within a "few" years.

For more on Jetstar Japan's launch and plans, see related article: Jetstar-JAL LCC, "Jetstar Japan" to commence service by Dec-2012