AirAsia Japan stated (03-Feb-2012) it obtained an Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) from the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau on 01-Feb-2012. The AOC will enable AirAsia Japan, a JV between AirAsia and All Nippon Airways, to launch commercial services to international and domestic destinations. The carrier expects to launch service in Aug-2012, stating: "The company targets this joint venture to begin operations at the latest Aug-2012 but could be earlier subject to aircraft availability". [more - original PR]
AirAsia Japan receives AOC; expects to launch service in Aug-2012
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A Japan Airlines-AirAsia partnership could help JAL catch up with ANA in Southeast Asia
Japan Airlines is eagerly counting down to 01-Apr-2017, which is expected to be the date when business expansion restrictions on JAL that were put in place after its bankruptcy restructuring will be lifted. The rules are complex and contain exceptions; JAL has been able to open new service to points like Boston and San Diego and invest in Jetstar Japan, but not able to open other routes or to invest in Skymark Airlines. Recent years have been a bonanza for its rival All Nippon Airways, which had been Japan's No. 2 airline but used government support and JAL's restrictions to embark on ambitious expansion, from long haul growth to purchasing Skymark Airlines and A380s.
JAL is unlikely to engage in rapid capacity expansion. JAL is firmly focused on maintaining high airline margins while replicating ANA's group strategy of non-cyclical ground-based businesses (flight training, maintenance, etc.). One exception however is Southeast Asia, where ANA has been growing. Japan has become politically closer to Southeast Asia and commercially too, with tourism influxes.
Yet there is still a hesitation when it comes to organic growth. One solution could be a partnership with AirAsia, which would give JAL access to a wide network and growing business segment. In return, JAL could even invest in AirAsia Japan, which is facing start-up delays and could benefit from parental help. JAL would join ANA in having two LCCs; JAL is an investor in Jetstar Japan, whose owner Jetstar is a partial rival to AirAsia. JAL-AirAsia would combine two of ANA's main foes: AirAsia Japan, which was a JV between ANA and AirAsia, was dissolved in bitter disagreement.
AirAsia up-gauges with a 100 A321neo order; outlook improves and China in its sights
AirAsia has joined other leading LCC groups in Southeast Asia by deciding to add higher density narrowbody aircraft. The 100 A321neos ordered by AirAsia at the 2016 Farnborough Air Show will enable the group to maximise slots at infrastructure constrained airports and further reduce unit costs.
The new order also enables the AirAsia Group to meet a requirement for additional aircraft that has surfaced due to the establishment of a leasing subsidiary which is looking at potentially placing some of the group’s future aircraft with third party customers. AirAsia joins rival Lion Group and VietJet Air in pursuing potential opportunities to lease out some of 1,150 aircraft the three Southeast Asian groups have on order – a staggering number of aircraft that likely cannot be absorbed entirely by their own airline subsidiaries or affiliates - but which they need to have available in case high forecasts materialise.
The new deal lifts AirAsia’s narrowbody order book to 404 aircraft, including 304 A320neos to be delivered from 2H2016 through 2028 and 100 A321neos slated for delivery from 2019 to 2028. The group took its last A320ceo in 2Q2015 and currently operates 171 of the type from bases in five countries.