Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring Airlines Japan to launch services on June 27th.

On March 25th, Spring Airlines Japan (IJ/SJO) announced that they will commence operations on June 27th. The Tokyo/Narita (NRT/RJAA)-based LCC's initial destinations are Hiroshima (HIJ/RJOA), Saga (HSG/RJFS), and Takamatsu (TAK/RJOT), and will start with two daily round-trips to each city utilizing a fleet of three Boeing 737-800s. Tickets will go on sale on April 8th at 1200 JST.
Spring Airlines Japan's crew pose in front of their brand-new Boeing 737-800. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

Flight schedule:
Narita - Hiroshima new 2 daily with 73H.
IJ621 NRT 0655 0835 HIJ 73H Daily
IJ623 NRT 1625 1805 HIJ 73H Daily
IJ622 HIJ 0920 1050 NRT 73H Daily
IJ624 HIJ 1850 2020 NRT 73H Daily

Narita - Saga new 2 daily with 73H.
IJ601 NRT 1055 1255 HSG 73H Daily
IJ603 NRT 1655 1855 HSG 73H Daily
IJ602 HSG 1340 1525 NRT 73H Daily
IJ604 HSG 1940 2125 NRT 73H Daily

Narita - Takamatsu new 2 daily with 73H.
IJ611 NRT 0630 0755 TAK 73H Daily
IJ613 NRT 1150 1315 TAK 73H Daily
IJ612 TAK 0840 0955 NRT 73H Daily
IJ614 TAK 1410 1525 NRT 73H Daily

From Narita, fares to Hiroshima will start at 5,690 JPY, to Saga from 5,700 JPY, and to Takamatsu from 5,630 JPY. Its highest fare for each route has been set at around 25,000 JPY, but the airline says that price is for 'government paperwork purposes', and in reality they don't intend to offer that fare. Competitor Jetstar Japan (GK/JJP) already serves the Narita - Takamatsu market twice daily offering fares as low as 3,990 JPY, but Spring Airlines Group Chairman Wang Zhenghua emphasizes they "don't want to get into a fare war".

Meanwhile, Japan's largest travel agency JTB has agreed to purchase up to 5% of Spring Airlines Japan's shares, a move which the tour firm denies as a foray into the LCC business, but instead "an investment to secure seats for package tours in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics", according to JTB President and CEO Hiromi Tagawa. Spring Airines Japan becomes only the third airline JTB has invested in, after Japan Airlines (JL/JAL) and All Nippon Airways (NH/ANA). "ANA and JAL's modest capacity expansion will be insufficient to meet the booming travel needs", Mr. Tagawa adds.

The airline's biggest shareholder, Shanghai/Pudong (PVG/ZSPD)-based Spring Airlines (9C/CQH), which controls the maximum possible figure under Japan's foreign ownership rules at 33%, already serves Ibaraki (IBR/RJAH), Osaka/Kansai (KIX/RJBB), Saga, and Takamatsu, and the Japanese affiliate hopes to attract Chinese tourists traveling to multiple destinations in Japan, as well as leverage brand recognition in cities the minority-parent already serves.

Spring Airlines Japan plans to add two more B737s this year, and five each from 2015, increasing its fleet to 20 by the end of 2017.

Source: Spring Airlines Japan, March 25th. (in Japanese) 
Source: Aviation Wire, March 25th. (in Japanese)
Source: Aviation Wire, March 25th. (in Japanese)

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