Japan Airlines Co Ltd (JAL) is launching a low-cost carrier offering medium to long-haul flights.
The new airline will be based at Narita International Airport and will offer flights to Asia, Europe and the Americas, JAL said in a statement. The airline will start flying in the summer of 2020 with two wide-body Boeing 787-8 aircraft. That year Tokyo will be hosting the Summer Olympics and international traffic will be busy.
“We want to play a role in boosting foreign travelers to Japan,” JAL President Yuji Akasaka said at a news conference in Tokyo.
According to a Reuters report, JAL will invest ¥10 billion yen ($121 million) to ¥20 billion in the business, with the aim of reaching profitability within three years from the launch.
JAL has a small stake in low-cost carrier Jetstar Japan and the new airline is meant to complement Jetstar Japan’s domestic flight network with a more international reach.
This decision follows a March announcement by All Nippon Airways (ANA) to integrate its own low-cost carrier affiliates, Peach Aviation and Vanilla Air, and start medium-haul international flights within Asia starting in 2020.
Low-cost carriers currently handle around 10 percent of air passengers within Japan. The figure is expected to rise to some 30 percent, the level seen overseas, in the near future while the national government aims to increase the number of foreign visitors to 40 million by 2020 and 60 million by 2030.