|Commenced operations||19 September 1998|
|Focus cities||Tokyo Haneda Airport
Narita International Airport
New Chitose Airport
|Headquarters||Haneda Airport, Ōta, Tokyo, Japan|
|Key people||Takashi Ide (Chairman)
Shinichi Nishikubo (President and CEO)
|Revenue||\85.9 billion (FY March 2013)|
|Operating income||\4.7 billion (FY March 2013)|
|Net income||\3.8 billion (FY March 2013)|
|Total assets||\74.2 billion (March 2013)|
|Total equity||\46.8 billion (March 2013)|
|Employees||2,293 (June 2013)|
Skymark Airlines Inc. (スカイマーク株式会社 Sukaimāku Kabushiki-gaisha?) TYO: 9204 is a low-cost airline headquartered at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda) in Ōta, Tokyo, Japan, operating scheduled passenger services within Japan. In addition to its base at Haneda, Skymark is the dominant carrier at Kobe Airport and is also the only domestic airline operating at Ibaraki Airport north of Tokyo. As of March 2013, its largest shareholder is CEO Shinichi Nishikubo (30.57%).
Skymark Airlines was established in November 1996 as an independent domestic airline after deregulation of the Japanese airline industry, and started operations on 19 September 1998. It was originally established by a consortium of investors led by the travel agency H.I.S., and headed by H.I.S. president Hideo Sawada. The airline incurred considerable losses in its first few years of operations, and briefly considered a recapitalization led by Commerzbank, but decided not to accept such an investment due to Air Do's issues with banks interfering in management. In August 2003, Sawada invited internet entrepreneur Shinichi Nishikubo to become Skymark's largest shareholder with a personal cash investment of 3.5 billion yen (having made around 9 billion yen from the IPO of his internet company in 2000). On 11 December 2003, Skymark announced that it expected a profit of 470 million yen for the half-fiscal year ending on 31 October, the first profit made since the airline began operations.
It acquired seven Boeing 767-200 and Boeing 767-300 widebody aircraft between 1998 and 2005. Certain 767 fuselages were painted in special "billboard" liveries advertising third party companies, including Yahoo Japan, Microsoft and USEN. Skymark began acquiring new Boeing 737-800 narrowbody aircraft in 2005, and eventually retired the 767 from its fleet in 2009.
Skymark Boeing 767 in Yahoo! Japan advertising
Skymark purchased the naming rights for the Kobe Sports Park Baseball Stadium from 2005 to 2010.
Skymark had a code sharing partnership with Japan Airlines on the Tokyo Haneda-Kobe route from Kobe Airport's opening in 2006. JAL withdrew from Kobe in 2010, while Skymark developed Kobe into a secondary base.
Shift to premium service
Skymark began to face stiff competition from a new group of low-cost carriers in Japan beginning in 2012, particularly at its Narita base which is also a base for AirAsia Japan and Jetstar Japan. This led to a reduction in Skymark's frequencies on highly contested routes such as Narita-Sapporo and Narita-Fukuoka, and a refocusing of aircraft on more exclusive routes such as Narita-Ishigaki.
On 8 November 2010 Skymark announced negotiations with Airbus for an order of four Airbus A380 aircraft and two options, making it the first Japanese airline to order the type. This order was confirmed as definite during February 2011. The airline announced its intent to use the aircraft on long-haul trunk routes out of Narita Airport such as London, Frankfurt, Paris and New York, and that they would be operated in a two-class, 394-seat configuration – with 114 seats in business class and 280 in a premium economy class. Business Class will be equipped with angled lie-flat seats at 60 in (1,500 mm) pitch and 20.7 in (530 mm) width, while "shell-style" seats at 38 in (970 mm) pitch and 20.5 in (520 mm) width will be offered in Premium Economy.
Skymark executed leases for seven Airbus A330-300 aircraft in July 2012, with delivery scheduled from 2014 through 2015. Skymark announced in June 2013 that it would outfit these aircraft in a 271-seat single-class premium configuration with 38-inch seat pitch and 22-inch seat width, tentatively called "Green Seats" and comparable to the domestic "Class J" offering on Japan Airlines, to win market share among business travelers on the key domestic trunk routes from Tokyo to Fukuoka and Sapporo. Regular full fares for these flights, which have always been lower than on JAL and ANA, will remain the same as before, but advance-purchase discount fares will be increased by around 5%. A330 flight attendants will wear miniskirt uniforms, in contrast to Skymark's usual polo shirt uniforms, for the first six months of operation of each route. Skymark also had plans to install "Green Seat" cabins on its 737 fleet to create a 2-class configuration, but cancelled the plan in early 2014 in favor of keeping a single-class 737 fleet for competition with other LCCs.
As of June 2013, Skymark planned to take delivery of its first A330 in January 2014, and its first A380 in August 2014. Skymark took delivery of an A330 flight simulator for pilot training in February 2013.
In early February 2014, Skymark announced that it would downsize the Narita operation to only three destinations (Sapporo, Yonago and Okinawa). Nishikubo stated that the base lost money in every month except August and that all LCCs were under pressure there. Skymark plans to re-deploy 737s from the Narita base as well as Haneda-based 737s replaced by A330s, for charter services to destinations such as Guam. He also expressed some reservations about the A330 fleet plan, stating that while the airline had funding in place for the first two aircraft, the third and subsequent deliveries could be impacted by the performance of Skymark's domestic operation as well as the success of its initial international service.
As of January 2014, Skymark Airlines operates scheduled flights to the following destinations:
- Asahikawa – Asahikawa Airport (ends 31 March 2014)
- Fukuoka – Fukuoka Airport Base
- Ibaraki – Ibaraki Airport
- Ishigaki - New Ishigaki Airport
- Kagoshima – Kagoshima Airport
- Kitakyushu – Kitakyushu Airport
- Kobe – Kobe Airport Base
- Kumamoto – Kumamoto Airport (ends 31 March 2014)
- Nagasaki – Nagasaki Airport
- Naha – Naha Airport Base
- Sapporo – New Chitose Airport Base
- Sendai - Sendai Airport
- Yonago - Miho-Yonago Airport
- Amami – Amami Airport (seasonal)
- Aomori - Aomori Airport (summer 2003)
- Tokushima - Tokushima Airport (2003 - 2006)
As of March 2014, the Skymark Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft, with an average age of 3.1 years:
|Airbus A330-300||2||7||0||271||0||271||Deliveries from 2014|
|Airbus A380-800||—||6||114||280||0||394||Deliveries from 2014|
Frequent flyer program
Skymark planned to introduce a frequent flyer program in January 2014 to coincide with the launch of its premium domestic service, but delayed this as of December 2013 in order to focus on preparing for international service in December 2014.
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