Spring Airlines Japan Co., Ltd.(春秋航空日本株式会社,Shunjū Kōkū Nihon Kabushiki Gaisha?) is a low-cost airline headquartered in Narita, Japan. It is 33% owned by Spring Airlines, a Chinese low-cost carrier, with the remainder held by various Japanese investors. SAJ originally planned to begin operations in autumn 2013, but as of September 2013 plans to begin operations at the end of May 2014, using Terminal 2 of Narita International Airport as its operating base.
Spring Airlines announced in 2011 that it had plans to establish a subsidiary in Japan; it would be the first Chinese airline to do so. Spring was required to find one or more local partners due to Japanese legal restrictions that would limit its investment to a minority stake.
The airline received an air operator's certificate on December 17, 2013, having filed in September 2013 with 1.5 billion yen of equity capital, of which Spring Airlines invested 33%. The remainder of the airline's capital was provided by Japanese financial institutions, IT enterprises and trading companies, among others. There were plans to raise a further 4.5 billion yen of capital prior to commencement of operations. Japanese travel agency JTB announced in March 2014 that it would invest in Spring Airlines Japan and enter a partnership with the airline to provide Japan tour packages to Chinese customers.
Spring Airlines Japan plans to use primarily Japanese staff, such as retired Japan Airlines pilots. Its head of operations, Minoru Uchida, is a former JAL pilot.
Spring Airlines Japan Boeing 737-800 at Narita International Airport
SAJ took delivery of its first Boeing 737-800, JA01GR, at New Chitose Airport in 17/7/2013. Although Spring Airlines uses Airbus A320 aircraft, the Japan operation elected to use the 737 due to its greater popularity among Japanese airlines and the relative ease of finding 737-qualified pilots, and is considering adopting 737 MAX aircraft in the future.
The aircraft are fitted in a 189-seat configuration with 18 seats (the first three rows) curtained off as a premium cabin.