18 MARCH 2019
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A new low-cost carrier (LCC) came into being last week for Japan Airlines (JAL) with the company officially naming its subsidiary ZipAir. First flights using a Boeing B787-8 Dreamliner are due to take off in summer 2020.
With demand among passengers in Asia growing for budget air travel, JAL said the new medium- to long-haul carrier would start operations with flights linking Tokyo Narita Airport with Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Seoul-Incheon International Airport.
At a launch ceremony in Tokyo, JAL president Shingo Nishida said ZipAir would aim eventually to offer transpacific and European flights as well. The company was expected to become profitable in two years after the maiden flights.
Observers noted JAL, which already operates a short-haul LCC called Jetstar Japan in partnership with Qantas, was setting up ZipAir to compete with its domestic rival ANA Holdings' budget subsidiary Peach.
Other similar players are also moving to cash in on Japan’s growing status as a destination – AirAsia Japan has recently relaunched and airlines such as Hong Kong Express and Scoot from Singapore adding flights to the country.
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