ANA and JAL still losing domestic passengers; three new local LCCs promise to stimulate demand

So far this year, two new Japanese low-cost airlines have launched; Peach and Jetstar Japan. Along with incumbent Skymark and next month’s start-up AirAsia Japan, Japan’s LCCs are taking a greater share of the domestic market from the two dominant carriers JAL and ANA.

Latest traffic data from Japan’s two dominant carriers (ANA and JAL) reveals that the number of passengers travelling on these two airlines on domestic Japanese routes continues to fall. In the first five months of 2012, their combined passenger numbers are around 10% down on the same period in 2010. Comparison with 2010 is more relevant as a benchmark as last year’s earthquake/tsunami heavily distorted the 2011 figures. It took until around August last year for the effects of the tsunami/earthquake to be relatively insignificant to the overall trend.

Japanese airlines traffic development Year-on-year change in passengers: 1/2007 to 5/2012

Source: ANA, JAL, MLIT

Load factors in the Japanese domestic market are consistently below those in other major domestic markets. Last year, neither ANA nor JAL managed a domestic load factor in excess of 72% in any month, with JAL’s 71.8% in August the best performance. So far in 2012 the average domestic load factor for the two carriers combined has been; 56% in January, 61% in February, 64% in March, 57% in April and 59% in May.

ANA/JAL share of domestic market now 84% and declining

Analysis of schedule data reveals that ANA and JAL’s combined share of the domestic market appears to be falling, from over 85% last July to just under 84% this July. The launch of two new Japanese LCCs in recent months (Peach and Jetstar Japan) and another one next month (AirAsia Japan), plus the growth of established Skymark, suggests that ANA and JAL can expect to see further cuts in their own market share, although all three new LCCs are joint ventures involving either ANA or JAL.

Airline Seats (July 2011) Seats share Seats (July 2012) Seats share
ANA 1,206,579 55.9% 1,238,620 52.6%
JAL 632,518 29.3% 736,734 31.3%
Skymark 111,752 5.2% 136,152 5.8%
Japan Transocean Air 80,910 3.8% 76,270 3.2%
Air Do 70,056 3.2% 70,056 3.0%
Starflyer 32,256 1.5% 37,440 1.6%
Peach 23,100 1.0%
Fuji Dream Airlines 13,224 0.6% 20,216 0.9%
Jetstar Japan 5,400 0.2%
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 2 July 2012 and w/c 4 July 2011

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