AirAsia Japan (AirAsia Japan Co Ltd) is the second attempt by the AirAsia Group to establish a foothold in the hotly-contested Japanese airline sector. The group's first iteration commenced operations on 01-Aug-2012. The airline was a joint venture with All Nippon Airways. In Jun-2013, ANA Holdings acquired AirAsia Group’s shareholding in the JV, creating Vanilla Air, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ANA. The airline operated under the AirAsia brand until 31-Oct-2013.
According to AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes, this latest venture was expected to commence operations in Jan-2017, with authorised capital of USD70 million. A revised launch date has not been specified, but it is likely to commence in 2017 with five A320s. The AirAsia Group will hold a 48.9% stake and is bringing in the Octave Japan Infrastructure Fund (19%), online retailer; Rakuten Inc (18%), diversified pharmaceuticals and cosmetics company; Noevir Holdings Co Ltd (9%); sporting group; Alpen (5%) and Fintech Global Trading Incorporated (0.1%), as investors in order to comply with Japanese foreign ownership restrictions. AirAsia also plans to launch an IPO for the carrier during the 2020 full year.
AirAsia Japan will look to operate domestic services to Sapporo Chitose and Fukuoka initially, targeting both tourists and business travellers on the two routes, before expanding to offer regional services to countries such as South Korea, Taiwan and China already served by AirAsia Group. Subject to approval, the start-up hopes to move into the planned LCC terminal at Nagoya Chubu Airport. The carrier chose Nagoya because of its 24-hour operations, discounting Haneda, where there are no slots, as well as Narita, which is not open 24-hours a day. The carrier could be operating at least 120 services to/from Nagoya Chubu Airport by 2020, exceeding All Nippon Airways, which is the largest carrier at Nagoya Chubu, currently operating 90 daily departures and arrivals at the airport.
In terms of fleet composition, AirAsia Japan will operate with five Airbus A320 aircraft in its launch phase. The carrier aims to expand its fleet with five additional aircraft each year onwards, for a fleet of 11 aircraft (including nine A320s and two A330s) by 2018, then increase to 14 A320s and six A330s by 2020. By year-end 2020, AirAsia Japan aims to operate 30 round-trips from Nagoya Chubu and 10 round-trips from Tokyo Narita with an average load factor of 75%.
On 06-Oct-2015, the start-up was issued an Air Operator's Certificate. AirAsia Japan plans to launch Nagoya Chubu-Sapporo Chitose service on 29-Oct-2017.
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