Monday, January 12, 2015

New AirAsia Japan eyes launch by year-end 2015.

AirAsia Japan (Mk II) hopes to launch operations "by the end of 2015," according to AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes in an interview carried out by Nikkei Shimbun. Mr. Fernandes admitted that paperwork preparations with Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) are taking more time than expected. Original plans had set an in-service target for June.

Airbus A320-214 JA02AJ of the first AirAsia Japan (Mk I) basks in the sun at Narita. The aircraft now flies with Indonesia AirAsia as PK-AZI. The new AirAsia Japan (Mk II) will be based at Nagoya's Chubu Centrair. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

"We are the only LCC with a network covering all of Asia. Look at our name. We are AirAsia. Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia are also on our horizon. Japan would be our North Asia hub and India our South Asia hub. We will continue to expand our network as Asia's largest LCC. 2015 will see us fly to Sapporo, Hawaii, and London," said Mr. Fernandes, reiterating the importance of Japan. The reincarnation of AirAsia Japan (Mk II) is also part of a strategy to shift dependence from Southeast Asia, where the market is becoming saturated and competition is fiercer than ever.

Meanwhile, the new Japanese unit has started hiring flight attendants. Applicants must have at least one year of experience and are required to go through a two-month training program in Malaysia sometime after May 2015. The airline is also requiring them to live within a radius of an hour commuting time by public transportation from Nagoya/Chubu Centrair [NGO/RJGG] or another airport the company specifies. Applicants will be hired as trainees and will become contract employees upon completion of training and qualification. Applications will be accepted from January 8th to February 1st. 

Headed by Yoshinori Odagiri, former CEO of the first incarnation, AirAsia Japan (Mk II) was officially relaunched last summer (AirAsia Japan is officially reborn; first flight June 2015.) with an initial capital totaling 7 billion JPY from AirAsia [AK/AXM] (49%), Octave Japan Infrastructure Fund (19%), Rakuten (18%), Noevir Holdings (9%), and Alpen (5%). The Malaysia-based LCC group's first crack at the Japanese market with AirAsia Japan (Mk I) [JW/WAJ] (CoachFlyer JW8541: NRT - FUK on AirAsia Japan's Airbus A320.) ended in a divorce with joint-venture (JV) partner ANA Holdings due to managerial differences only 10 months after launching operations in August 2012. It now operates as Vanilla Air [JW/VNL] under 100% ANA ownership.

Will some employees defect Vanilla Air to join the new AirAsia Japan (Mk II)?

Source: Nikkei Shimbun, December 26th. (in Japanese)
Source: AirAsia Japan, January 8th. (in Japanese)

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