The news of the formation of AirAsia Japan Co Ltd, a joint-venture between ANA and AirAsia, is certainly going to travel throughout the whole of Japan and Asia. We are seeing ANA trying very hard to expand itself vertically if not horizontally or a hybrid, to venture in not one but two low-cost carriers.
Just beginning of this year, we were treated to the news of the creation of A&F Aviation Co Ltd, then later to Peach Airlines, also a joint-venture between ANA and HongKong Far Eastern Investment Group. The weird thing about it is that why would ANA be thinking of forming a low-cost airlines and based it in Kansai International Airport(KIX) Osaka, where in the last few years we heard constant news of foreign airlines backing out from this market. The explanation I gave myself back then was, for ANA to form a new airline or in any other business, it should not be eating into its own market share. So, ANA was hoping to spur demand and to create a new market. And now it finally makes more sense to me, as things begin to unfold.
The biggest price for any airlines eyeing on the Japanese market is to be able to operate from Haneda airport if not Narita airport. ANA certainly must have planned it right from the start who to choose as its favorite partner. Rumors was saying Jetstar, which later Jetstar went to JAL and then could it be Singapore’s Tiger Air, but poor little kitten has been struggling and is no match for AirAsia and only to find itself good at exchanging mouth war games between the both. Isn’t it obvious that the winner would turn out to be AirAsia, asia’s largest low-cost carrier, whose tone of voice is louder than any legacy full-fledge carrier. Both big boys, ANA and JAL have adopted the same strategy that is; if you can’t beat them(LCC), join them.
Back to the local scene, Skymark Airlines, Japan’s only hopeful low-cost carrier, whose vision one day is to be able to fly out of Japan, and it is not going to take to long to happen, has announced to start operations using Narita International Airport(NRT), actually in Chiba not Tokyo, as a base. Again sending shockwaves with news of its purchase of 6 Airbus A380 aircrafts and later up its order for another 2 more aircrafts.
Shortly after this piece of news, Skynet Asia Airways turned green in color, or rather decided to adopt a new name and a new corporate identity, with a new name called Solaseed Air. Solaseed Air a.k.a the airline previously known as Skynet Asia, was thinking that the new name is catchy and easy to remember.
Not to forget and before that, JAL has decided that they have come this far, after spending so much money with marketing the JAL brand name with its JAL lettering logo, has decided to go back to using an old logo with an icon of a crane. They said that this is to help to forget the old unsuccessful Japan Airlines that lost billions of yen, to mark a new start. They must have ran out of ideas seeking for a fresh start using dropped logo.
So much for my personal update in the airlines industry happening in Japan in the last 6 to 10 months. Competitions within the airlines are higher than ever before. The changes can be very drastic and sometimes dramatic too.