Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Skynet Asia to officially change name to Solaseed Air.

Skynet Asia Airways [6J/SNJ] (d.b.a. Solaseed Air) will officially change its corporate name to Solaseed Air effective December 1st. It was approved at a shareholders' meeting held on June 23rd. The niche carrier aims to raise brand-awareness by standardizing its brand and official name. It started using the Solaseed Air brand on July 11th, 2011, however, their official identity remained unchanged.

Boeing 737-86N(WL) JA805X arrives at Haneda in the sunset. The name change would likely be unnoticed by most ordinary travelers, as Skynet Asia has been using Solaseed Air as its brand since July 2011. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

Founded back on July 3rd, 1997 as Pan Asia Airways, it changed its name to Skynet Asia Airways in September 1999, before launching operations on August 1st, 2002 with a base at Miyazaki [KMI/RJFM]. Originally the third child of Japan's deregulation challenging the ANA/JAL/JAS triopoly, its financial situation quickly deteriorated before an intervention orchestrated by the government in June 2004 led to a rehabilitation process sponsored by All Nippon Airways [NH/ANA].

ANA Holdings currently owns 8.56% of Solaseed, though it virtually controls over 36% when combined with the 27.75% share controlled by Development Bank of Japan, with which ANA enjoys rapport. ANA thus has indirect control over the 25 slot-pairs Solaseed holds at Tokyo/Haneda [HND/RJTT]. Japan's largest carrier has also used them as a lower-cost feeder vehicle to transfer some less-profitable routes, with the most recent example being the two new Okinawa/Naha [OKA/ROAH] links (Solaseed Air expands Okinawa with Ishigaki and Nagoya.).

Code-sharing with ANA throughout its network, Solaseed's fleet has steadily grown from just two Boeing 737-400s (CoachFlyer 6J034: NGS - HND on Solaseed Air's Boeing 737.), the last of which was retired in September 2014 (Solaseed Air bids farewell to the Boeing 737-400.), to a dozen 737-800s.

Source: Skynet Asia Airways, June 23rd. (in Japanese)

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