Possible cheap flights to Japan

With the proliferation of budget airlines in practically every market of the world, the world has become more affordable with the exception of Japan, which currently has no budget airlines operate services there.

The good news is that may be about to change when Japan’s All Nippon Airways and Southeast Asia’s largest budget carrier AirAsia confirmed late last week they will form a joint venture to establish a low-cost airline that will be based in Tokyo.

AirAsia Japan will be the first low-cost carrier out of the capital’s Narita International Airport when it begins domestic and international operations in August 2012, the companies said.
ANA will hold a 67 % stake in the AirAsia Japan venture in terms of voting rights, with AirAsia holding the remainder.

AirAsia Japan will serve the Japanese domestic market from Narita airport as well as South Korea and Taiwan, a move that could see current air fares cut by about half.

Narita, which is a major international hub, is also seeking to increase capacity with the introduction of a new terminal and is expected to attract many low-cost carriers and foreign airlines, amid expectations of increasing competition in Japanese airspace.

Japan’s existing cheaper domestic carriers such as Skymark and Air Do have been unable to offer the kind of heavily discounted fares associated with budget airlines in the United States and Europe due to higher operating costs.

AirAsia has other similar joint-ventures in Southeast Asia — in Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand — while its long-haul airline AirAsia X flies to Tokyo’s Haneda airport.
ANA also holds a 33.4 % stake in budget carrier Peach, which aims to begin domestic services out of Kansai International Airport in the western Japanese city of Osaka in March 2012.
Given the recent disasters that have confronted Japan this year, you would think that the government would be doing all that it could to attract foreign visitors, but seem reluctant to compete with other Asian destinations on price. AirAsia really has revolutionised air travel throughout Asia, and has proved that people will gladly fly to new destinations, as long as the price is right.

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