Jetstar is expanding its Asian operations in Japan with a new low fare airline called Jetstar Japan.
The new airline is a partnership between Qantas Group, Japan Airlines (JAL) and Mitsubishi Corporation and has a total capitalization commitment of up to ¥12 billion, a Jetstar statement said.
Jetstar Japan was expected to fly from Tokyo and Kansai International, with other airports and bases being considered, including Sapporo, Fukuoka and Okinawa, a Jetstar statement said, with flights expected to start by the end of next year.
The airline would have an initial fleet of three new Airbus A320 aircraft designed for 180 customers in one class, with plans to grow the fleet to 24 A320s in a few years, the statement said.
Jetstar Airways, a Qantas subsidiary, flies long haul services from both Tokyo and Osaka to Cairns and the Gold Coast in Australia, with Airbus A330 two class aircraft, and from Singapore to Osaka with Jetstar’s Asia’s short haul A320 fleet.
Jetstar Japan would be the newest link in the airline’s network, the statement said. Jetstar currently offers connections to 17 countries including Australia, Singapore, Vietnam and New Zealand, the statement said.
Jetstar chief executive office Bruce Buchanan said the new venture would link existing services to Osaka and Tokyo with other popular destinations across Japan.
“Jetstar Japan means people will be able to travel on our network into Japan, and then continue on to the famous ski fields or cultural centres under our much-loved orange star.”
Fares are expected to be an average of 40% lower than current prices, the statement said, with special sales offering lower prices.
Jetstar's Growth Chart, detailing the airline's passenger growth compared with low cost carrier competitors since its launch
JAL is a full service carrier with an international network servicing more than 225 airports in 38 countries and regions along with its codeshare partners. Domestically the airline covers more than 50 airports throughout Japan. JAL operates about 22,000 international and domestic flights a month.
Mitsubishi Corporation is Japan’s largest general trading company, the statement said, with more than 200 bases of operations in about 80 countries around the world. Mitsubishi has eight business groups across most industries in the world including Metals, Chemicals, Industrial Finance and the Global Environment Business Development Group.
The announcement of the new airline is part of a major overhaul of Qantas, in which it plans to refocus its offshore operations on Asia, the Australian Financial Review reported.
This overhaul saw up to 1000 jobs cut after a year-long review into Qantas International, which the company has estimated will lose about $200 million in the last financial year, AFR reported.
The announcement also follows on from Singapore Airlines announcement that it will launch a low cost subsidiary airline within one year, yet to be named.