Monday, May 16, 2016

New AirAsia Japan launch slips to 4Q2016 at earliest.

AirAsia Japan (Mk II) [DJ] has officially admitted that they will miss its target launch in Summer 2016 (New AirAsia Japan reveals China, SE Asia, USA ambitions.), and a new date has yet to be set. "Additional time is necessary to ensure the safety of operations," revealed a company spokesperson on May 11th to local media outlets in Nagoya, adding "At this time we are unable to confirm our launch date." This becomes the third delay for the reincarnation of AirAsia's Japanese unit (New AirAsia Japan delays service entry to July 2016.).

Airbus A320-216(SL) JA02DJ/F-WWBO (msn 6972) lands at wet Toulouse after a test flight. It was delivered on April 27th and arrived at Chubu Centrair on May 5th. AirAsia Japan will commence operations with two aircraft. (Photo: Tobias Gudat)

Japan's fifth LCC in five years, AirAsia Japan (Mk II) took delivery of its second Airbus A320 on April 27th, and hiring ground-handling staff at Sapporo/New Chitose [CTS/RJCC] and Sendai [SDJ/RJSS] has been completed. However, the airline reportedly still lacks the adequate number of pilots, maintenance personnel, and operations control staff required by regulator Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB). Demand for trained aviation professionals is high due to the rapid growth of LCCs and AirAsia Japan (Mk II) may be having difficulty recruiting. It received an Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) in October last year (New AirAsia Japan receives AOC; takeoff in April 2016.), but has yet to pass inspections in maintenance and operations preparedness.

The latest delay pushes back its in-service date to October at earliest, and that is if actual flight training starts by June and JCAB checks including proving flights could be commenced by August. Training flights have yet to begin, and its two aircraft remain grounded at Nagoya/Chubu Centrair [NGO/RJGG] apart from a few sporadic flights to keep them airworthy. The later their launch, the more its competitors would become established in the market. AirAsia Japan (Mk II) had selected Chubu Centrair as there were no LCCs based at the airport serving the nation's third largest metropolitan area at that time (AirAsia Japan selects Nagoya Chubu Centrair.), however, now Jetstar Japan [GK/JJP] (Jetstar Japan starts Nagoya and Kansai to Manila.) and Spring Airlines [9C/CQH] among other LCCs are building up their networks.

Meanwhile, Chubu Centrair has decided to go ahead to build its LCC Terminal, which was planned but shelved when the first AirAsia Japan (Mk I) [JW/WAJ] suspended operations (CoachFlyer JW8541: NRT - FUK on AirAsia Japan's Airbus A320.). They will confirm its design and begin construction in FY2017, with completion slated for summer 2019. Jetstar Japan and Spring Airlines are also considering moving into the new terminal. The airport believes capacity at Tokyo/Haneda [HND/RJTT] and Tokyo/Narita [NRT/RJAA] is not large enough to absorb the increased demand during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics/Paralympics.

Source: Nikkei Shimbun, 2016 April 1st. (in Japanese)
Source: Aviation Wire, 2016 May 6th. (in Japanese)
Source: Travel Vision, 2016 May 12th. (in Japanese)
Source: Traicy, 2016 May 12th. (in Japanese) 

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