Friday, January 16, 2015

Peach plans Narita hub and Haneda – Taipei.

Peach Aviation [MM/APJ] is planning to add Tokyo/Haneda [HND/RJTT] – Taipei/Taoyuan [TPE/RCTP] this summer, becoming the first Japanese LCC to operate into the heavily-regulated downtown Tokyo airport. It will also make Tokyo/Narita [NRT/RJAA] its third hub after Osaka/Kansai [KIX/RJBB] and Okinawa/Naha [OKA/ROAH], and will launch flights from Narita to Fukuoka [FUK/RJFF] and Sapporo/New Chitose [CTS/RJCC] as early as March.

Airbus A320-214 JA810P Wing of Tohoku rests between flights at Kansai. Three aircraft will be added in 2015 for a total of 17, as the carrier grows conservatively yet ambitiously. (Photo: Peach)

Peach would only become the third LCC serving Haneda, after AirAsia X [D7/XAX] and Hong Kong Express Airways [UO/HKE] (d.b.a. HK Express). The new link to Taipei would depart around 0200 or 0300 JST and operate daily with 180-seat Airbus A320s, using the airport's midnight (2300 - 0600) slots, which are underutilized, with only 27 slot-pairs currently used out of 40 total available.

Last November, Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) introduced a scheme where landing fees would be discounted 50% for the first year, 30% for the second, and 20% for the third for new routes using the midnight slots, in a bid to lure more airlines. Unpopularity of the midnights slots is largely due to public transportation being almost non-existent during those times, with the only choice being taxis. But that is gradually showing signs of improvement, with new midnight buses and extended train schedules.

Meanwhile, Peach has reportedly decided to establish its hub to serve the Kanto (Greater Tokyo) region at Narita. Last month, CEO Shinichi Inoue had revealed that the carrier was considering opening hubs in Sapporo and Tokyo, as well as Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, and Seoul. Japan's so far most successful LCC already operates three times daily to Narita from its Kansai base. Their second hub at Naha was only opened last July (Peach launches Naha hub; but Naha – Ishigaki axed.), and Hong Kong is the next route to be launched on February 21st (Peach announces Okinawa – Hong Kong.), becoming the fourth spoke from its southern base.

Peach, however, has decided against moving into Narita's new controversial LCC Terminal, dubbed Terminal 3, which is slated to open on April 8th. It currently uses Terminal 1, which houses All Nippon Airways [NH/ANA], subsidiary of Peach's 38.67% and largest shareholder ANA Holdings. Launching a Narita hub would translate to Peach going head to head with ANA Holdings' wholly-owned subsidiary Vanilla Air [JW/VNL]. Tomonori Ishii, President of the fledgling Narita-based LCC, had previously said that it wants to avoid competing with its Kansai-based sister.

Source: Nikkei Shimbun, January 2nd. (in Japanese)
Source: Traicy,  January 13th. (in Japanese)
Source: Nikkei Shimbun, January 16th. (in Japanese)

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