StarFlyer

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This article is about the Japanese airline. For other uses, see Star Flyer (disambiguation).
StarFlyer
スターフライヤー
StarFlyer logo.svg
IATA
7G
ICAO
SFJ
Callsign
STARFLYER
Founded 17 December 2002
Commenced operations 16 March 2006
Operating bases
Frequent-flyer program Star Link
Fleet size 9
Destinations 6
Parent company Star Flyer Inc. TYO: 9206
Headquarters Kitakyūshū, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan
Key people Shin'ichi Yonehara (President)
Revenue Increase JPY 25.1 billion (FY2013)
Net income Decrease JPY 287 million (FY2013)
Total assets Increase JPY 17.1 billion (FY2013)
Total equity Increase JPY 4.8 billion (FY2013)
Employees 601
Website www.starflyer.jp
StarFlyer headquarters

StarFlyer Inc. (株式会社スターフライヤー Kabushiki-gaisha Sutāfuraiyā?) is a Japanese airline headquartered on the grounds of Kitakyushu Airport in Kokuraminami-ku, Kitakyūshū, Fukuoka Prefecture.[1] It describes itself as a "hybrid airline" providing a higher level of service than low-cost carriers while having operating costs lower than full-service legacy carriers.[2]

History[edit]

StarFlyer was founded as Kobe Airlines (神戸航空 Kōbe Kōkū?) on December 17, 2002 with the intention of being based at the new Kobe Airport. The company changed its name to StarFlyer in May 2003, and moved to Kitakyushu at the end of 2003.[3] The airline was founded by former Japan Air System technician Takaaki Hori and former All Nippon Airways executive Yasushi Muto, who respectively served as president and senior vice president of the company until 2009.[4] Its headquarters were initially in the Shin Kokura Building (新小倉ビル Shin Kokura Biru?) in Kokura Kita-ku, Kitakyūshū;[5] in 2010 the airline announced that the headquarters would move to Kitakyushu Airport.[6]

StarFlyer began service upon the opening of New Kitakyushu Airport on March 16, 2006.[7]

StarFlyer Airbus A320-200, City of Kitakyushu

All Nippon Airways began an operational relationship with StarFlyer in 2005, allowing StarFlyer to use its computerized reservations system. This relationship expanded to code sharing in 2007, under which StarFlyer service between Haneda and Kitakyushu (and later between Haneda and Fukuoka) was marketed under ANA's airline code. The code sharing immediately boosted StarFlyer's load factors from 59% to over 70%.[7]

In April 2008 the company announced that it would begin charter flights to Seoul in July. The airline said it would evaluate the flights to consider whether to start regular service between the two cities (in the meantime, its call center handles reservations for Jeju Air on this route). In addition, it has also prepared to start charter service to Hong Kong. StarFlyer operated packaged tour charter flights from Kitakyushu to Guam in August 2013 with an aim to provide more "program charter" services in the future.[8]

StarFlyer initially planned an IPO in fiscal year 2008, but poor financial and operating performance delayed the IPO; among other issues, the airline failed to use appropriate fuel hedging to control its costs, and also had limited ability to raise capital. Hori and Muto resigned from their positions in June 2009, and Shinichi Yonehara, a former Mitsui & Co. aircraft trading executive, became president of the company.[4] Under Yonehara's leadership, the airline completed its IPO on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in December 2011.[3]

The airline suffered a massive cancellation following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, as 13 of its 29 pilots at the time were non-Japanese, and seven of them were overseas and had refused to return to Japan.[9]

In December 2012, ANA announced that it had acquired an 18% stake in StarFlyer, making it the largest shareholder in the airline.[10]

In 2013, StarFlyer announced that it would start service between Fukuoka and Kansai International Airport in Osaka, targeting business travelers on a highly competitive city pair where the Sanyo Shinkansen high-speed rail service has a market share of around 80%. StarFlyer announced that it would offer discount fares starting at 4,500 yen to compete with both rail service and the discount airline Peach.[11]

StarFlyer announced a restructuring in November 2013, as part of which it would offer early retirement packages to 30 employees, suspend its service to Busan effective 30 March 2014, and reduce its fleet from eleven to nine aircraft.[12] StarFlyer was also considering raising fares on its key domestic routes from Haneda to Kitakyushu and Fukuoka.[13]

Corporate relationships[edit]

StarFlyer checkin counter

As of March 2013, ANA Holdings is the largest shareholder in the company with a 17.96% stake, and several companies that have major operations in the northern Kyushu region are also significant shareholders, including TOTO, Yaskawa Electric Corporation, Kyushu Electric Power Company and Nissan Motor Company.[14]

Kitakyushu Bank has a credit card mileage partnership with StarFlyer.[15] Yamaguchi Financial Group, the parent company of Kitakyushu Bank, made publicized efforts to support StarFlyer's Busan service by approaching businesses, tourism organizations and Japanese expatriate groups in the Busan region.[16]

StarFlyer provides ground handling services for Delta Air Lines at Haneda Airport in Tokyo.[17]

Destinations[edit]

A StarFlyer Airbus A320-200 at Kansai International Airport, Osaka, Japan. (2008)

StarFlyer serves the following destinations (as of November 2014):[18]

Base
Seasonal
Terminated Destination
City Province/Region Country IATA ICAO Airport
Busan South Korea PUS RKPK Gimhae International Airport
Fukuoka Kyūshū Japan FUK RJFF Fukuoka Airport
Kitakyūshū Kyūshū Japan KKJ RJFR Kitakyushu Airport
Nagoya Chūbu Japan NGO RJGG Chūbu Centrair International Airport
Osaka Kansai Japan KIX RJBB Kansai International Airport
Seoul South Korea ICN RKSI Incheon International Airport
Tokyo Kantō Japan HND RJTT Haneda Airport
Ube Chūgoku Japan UBJ RJDC Yamaguchi Ube Airport

Fleet[edit]

Interior of a StarFlyer Airbus A320-200

Most of the Star Flyer A320 fleet is leased from GECAS and AWAS,[19] but the airline purchased three A320s to replace older leased aircraft; JA01MC was retired on April 30 2014 to bring its fleet to a total of ten aircraft, of which 5 aircraft will be leased in the future.[20]

As of August 2014, the StarFlyer fleet consists of 10 Airbus A320-200 aircraft with an average age of 2.4 years, each being equipped with either 144 or 150 passenger seats in an all-economy class cabin layout.[21] Each passenger has a personal LCD monitor offering in-flight television, as well as powerports for notebook computers. StarFlyer plans to offer in-flight Internet service in the future. Other airline includes J-AIR that also operate wi-fi.

StarFlyer Fleet
Aircraft In Fleet Passengers Notes
Airbus A320-200 9 150 4 fitted with winglets

Livery[edit]

The company's black and white aircraft livery and corporate branding were designed under the art direction of Tatsuya Matsui, a noted robot designer, in conjunction with SGI Japan. Matsui based the airline's brand identity around the concept of a "Mother Comet" taking passengers through space to their destination. His design work extended to aircraft interiors, airport facilities and in-flight service implements, including the airline's signature leather seats and chocolates.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "会社概要." StarFlyer. Retrieved on December 20, 2010. "本社 〒800-0306 福岡県北九州市小倉南区空港北町6番 北九州空港スターフライヤー本社ビル"
  2. ^ http://contents.xj-storage.jp/contents/92060/T/PDF-GENERAL/20130814982388.pdf
  3. ^ a b "沿革". Starflyer.jp. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "スターフライヤーに全日空が「熟柿作戦」". FACTA. July 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "Company Profile." StarFlyer. Retrieved on May 26, 2009. "Location Shin-Kokura Bldg.,2-2-1 Komemachi Kokurakita-ku, Kitakyusyu-shi Fukuoka 802-0003 JPN"
  6. ^ "スターフライヤー、北九州空港へ本社移転-業務効率化目指し今秋に." Hangata Communications. January 4, 2010. Retrieved on February 15, 2010. "同社の本社機能についてはかねてより2011年に同空港内への移転計画が伝えられていたが、予定を早めて今年秋に実施することを決めたもの。"
  7. ^ a b "Japan's StarFlyer looks to expand its successful niche – but change is afoot". CAPA Centre for Aviation. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  8. ^ Yoshikawa, Tadayuki (2 August 2013). "スターフライヤー、グアムへチャーター便就航". Aviation Wire. Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
  9. ^ "外国人機長が来日できず、スターフライヤー102便運休 4月". 日本経済新聞. 24 March 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "全日空、スターフライヤーへの18%出資を発表". 日本経済新聞. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "スターフライヤー、関空―福岡線4500円から 新幹線に対抗". 日本経済新聞. 31 July 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  12. ^ Yoshikawa, Tadayuki (15 November 2013). "スターフライヤー、釜山線運休 希望退職など経営合理化". Aviation Wire. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  13. ^ 石田, 宗久 (15 November 2013). "<スターフライヤー>希望退職者を募集 定期の釜山線運休へ". 毎日新聞. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  14. ^ "11th AGM Notice". StarFlyer. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  15. ^ "北九州銀が開業2年 地元密着で預金・融資は順調". 日本経済新聞. 7 November 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  16. ^ "山口FG、スターフライヤー北九州―釜山線の集客支援". 日本経済新聞. 19 November 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  17. ^ "スターフライヤー、デルタのハンドリング業務受託-羽田空港で". FlyTeam. 2 January 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  18. ^ StarFlyer destinations & timetable starflyer.co.jp
  19. ^ http://www.awas.com/Portals/0/pdf/Press%20Release%20-%20Starflyer%20-%208%20June%202011%20-%20Final.pdf
  20. ^ Yoshikawa, Tadayuki (20 January 2014). "スターフライヤー、13号機が24日到着へ 10機体制に". Aviation Wire. Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  21. ^ "StarFlyer fleet list at planespotters.net
  22. ^ 「Posy」の松井龍哉氏、エアラインをデザイン - ITmedia LifeStyle. Itmedia.co.jp. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.

External links[edit]