Jetstar Japan joins the new breed of Japanese low cost carriers (three in 2012!)

Jetstar Japan CEO Miyuki Suzuki greets her first commercially-important person for at the Tokyo Narita- Sapporo route launch.

Jetstar Japan CEO Miyuki Suzuki greets her first commercially-important person at the Tokyo Narita-Sapporo Chitose route launch. The logos to the right conveniently show us the owners of Jetstar Japan – Qantas (33.3%), JAL (33.3%), Mitsubishi Corp (16.7%), and TC Lease (16.7%). For a full analysis of this route, read here.

Three principals at the Jetstar Japan first route launch: Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, Jetstar Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka, and  Jetstar Japan CEO Miyuki Suzuki.

Three principals at the Jetstar Japan first route launch: Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, Jetstar Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka, and Jetstar Japan CEO Miyuki Suzuki.

This week saw the launch of Jetstar Japan, the joint venture LCC in which Qantas and Japan Airlines each have a one-third stake. This is the second of three new LCCs that will have launched in Japan by the end of the year, following Peach in March and with AirAsia Japan due to launch at the beginning of August. A summary of the three airlines and their currently-announced route networks is provided in the following table.

Peach (MM) Jetstar Japan (GK) AirAsia Japan (JW)
Launched 1 March 2012 3 July 2012 1 August 2012
Ownership ANA and Far Eastern Investment Group Qantas (33.3%), JAL (33.3%), Mitsubishi Corp (16.7%), CTLC (16.7%) AirAsia and ANA
Main base Osaka Kansai (KIX) Tokyo Narita (NRT) Tokyo Narita (NRT)
Aircraft type A320 (180 seats) A320 (180 seats) A320 (180 seats)
Routes launched KIX – Fukuoka (1 March)
KIX – Sapporo (1 March)
KIX – Nagasaki (25 March)
KIX – Kagoshima (1 April)
KIX – Seoul (8 May)
KIX – Hong Kong (1 July)
KIX – Taipei (30 September)
NRT – Fukuoka (3 July)
NRT – Sapporo (3 July)
NRT – Okinawa (9 July)
NRT – Osaka KIX (9 July)
KIX – Fukuoka (24 August)
KIX – Sapporo (24 August)
NRT – Fukuoka (1 August)
NRT – Sapporo (1 August)
NRT – Okinawa (3 August)
Source: Airlines, Innovata

All three carriers have chosen to operate A320s in a 180-seat configuration. Analysis of schedule data for 2012 shows how quickly each carrier has grown (or currently plans to grow) after launching. With a few months head start over its rivals, Peach appears to be determined to maintain its status as the biggest of the three new LCCs, as measured by weekly departures.

Japan's new LCCs Monthly departures in 2012

Source: Innovata for 2012

By the end of 2012, Peach will be operating seven routes from Osaka Kansai airport including three international routes. Jetstar Japan will be operating six domestic routes from a mix of Tokyo Narita and Osaka Kansai, while AirAsia Japan will have just three domestic routes from Tokyo Narita. However, it is possible that any of these carriers may launch additional services before the end of the year.

Jetstar Japan gets the traditional salute from Narita’s fire trucks as flight GK111 gets ready to head for Sapporo.

Wetting the head of the new Jetstar baby – Jetstar Japan gets the traditional salute from Narita’s fire trucks as flight GK111 gets ready to head for Sapporo. This is the second of three new Japanese LCCs that will have launched by the end of the year, following Peach in March, and with AirAsia Japan due to launch in August. Peach was an anna.aero Route of the Week with its Osaka Kansai-Seoul Incheon international service in May.


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