JAL to launch long-haul LCC in 2020

Japan Airlines will establish a new Tokyo Narita-based low-cost unit focused on long-haul routes that will start operations in 2020.

The Oneworld carrier says the as-yet unnamed carrier will operate two Boeing 787-8s and fly to destinations in Asia, Europe and the Americas.

It adds that the unit’s long-haul focus will complement the domestic and regional international services of Jetstar Japan, in which it holds a 47.1% economic interest and 33.3% voting stake.

“When JAL establishes the new LCC business, the company aims to create new demand, working along with the successful services provided by Jetstar Japan, which features domestic and short-haul international flights,” it says.

Qantas holds an equal interest in Jetstar Japan, with Century Tokyo Corporation and Mitsubishi making up the remainder.

The company that will operate the new low-cost carrier will be established in June, with details on its capitalisation to be announced at a later date. It will be a consolidated subsidiary of JAL group, and fits with its strategy of developing new business streams.

JAL’s announcement of the new carrier follows a report in Bloomberg last week quoting a senior executive who said that the premium carrier was analyzing launching a new low-cost unit.

At that time, JAL told FlightGlobal that no decision had been made, and that the analysis was part of its usual course of business.

The launch comes as rival ANA Holdings prepares to merge two of its budget brands – Vanilla Air and Peach – ahead of a planned launch on medium-haul routes in 2020.