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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Jetstar Japan has moved up their launch date to July 3 2012

Jetstar Japan, the low-cost carrier (LCC) joint venture of Japan Airlines (JAL), Qantas and Mitsubishi, announced today that they are moving their launch date up from end of 2012 to July 3 2012 (subject to regulatory approval). Jetstar Japan will launch with 3 new A320s initially and will be based in Tokyo Narita (NRT). Their network at launch will include Tokyo Narita, Osaka, Sapporo, Okinawa and Fukuoka.

According to the press release, Jetstar Japan CEO Miyuki Suzuki said they were able to move the launch date forward by a couple of months because of the great response from their potential crew and positive discussions with local airports. They have received almost 10,000 expressions of interests for cabin crew positions alone!

Jetstar Japan however has not announced the launch schedules and fares. But they mentioned they will provide opportunities for people to travel for an average of 50% less and will announce the fares and schedules soon.

Now the Jetstar Japan launch date is more inline with its main LCC competitors Peach and AirAsia Japan who will launch their first flight on March 1 and August 2012 respectively. We will certainly see some fierce competitions very soon as Peach, Jetstar Japan and AirAsia Japan are the first true LCCs that fly domestically (yea Skymark, AirDo don't count).

But with only 3 A320s, I am not sure how convenient Jetstar Japan's schedules going to be (NRT-OKA alone is a 3+ hour flight!). They will have to grow their fleet fast in order to compete with other LCCs which plan to have bigger fleet than Jetstar Japan. With their possibly not so convenient schedule, business travelers who are less cost sensitive and would prefer convenient schedule and reliability over cost will probably stick with full service carriers like JAL and ANA. But things might change once these LCCs' fleet begin to grow. Hopefully JAL and ANA won't follow the path of the US legacy carriers and turned into unprofitable carriers with mediocre service.

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