AirAsia Japan

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AirAsia Japan
AirAsia New Logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded1 July 2011; 8 years ago (2011-07-01)
Commenced operations1 August 2012
HubsChūbu Centrair International Airport (Nagoya)
Frequent-flyer programBIG[1]
Fleet size3
HeadquartersNagoya, Japan
Key peopleTony Fernandes
Hiroshi Mikitani
Operating incomeJPY -3.3 billion (FY June 2013)[2]
AirAsia Japan Airbus A320-200 New Chitose Airport, 1 November 2012

AirAsia Japan Co., Ltd (エアアジア・ジャパン株式会社 Eāajia Japan Kabushiki-Gaisha) is the name of two incarnations of Japanese low-cost airline, operating as a joint venture between AirAsia of Malaysia and Japanese partners.


The director of AirAsia Tony Fernandes dubbed the two incarnations of AirAsia Japan as "Part 1" and "Part 2".[3]

"Part 1": Joint-venture with All Nippon Airways (August 2012-October 2013)[edit]

Malaysian low-cost airline AirAsia and Japanese network airline All Nippon Airways announced their joint venture at a press conference in Tokyo on 21 July 2011.[4] Following its formal establishment in August 2011,[4] the first flight for the airline was on 1 August 2012, from Tokyo Narita to Fukuoka.[5]

The airline was headquartered alongside ANA in Tokyo, with its main operating base at Narita International Airport, and initially served domestic destinations utilising the brand and service model of AirAsia.[4] Future planned international destinations included the Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan.[6][7] AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes also indicated that the joint venture hub at Narita may serve as a connecting point between Southeast Asia and the United States within the AirAsia group network.[8]

AirAsia Japan was the first low-cost airline to be based at Narita.[8] Its formation was announced only months after ANA had announced the formation of Peach, a low-cost airline based at Kansai International Airport in Osaka, and alongside a concurrent effort by Japan Airlines to set up a low-cost affiliate.[7] ANA elected to partner with an existing low-cost airline for efficiency and strategic advantage.[8]

Termination of joint venture and re-branding as Vanilla Air[edit]

In June 2013, AirAsia decided to exit its investment in AirAsia Japan, making the company a wholly owned subsidiary of ANA. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported that AirAsia Japan had the lowest load factors of the three new entrant low-cost carriers in Japan and noted several reasons for the failure of the joint venture, including an online booking system that was not fully translated into Japanese and was therefore frustrating to many domestic customers, failure to utilise travel agent distribution (which is still a major component of domestic airline sales in Japan), the inconvenience of its main hub at Narita Airport, and the airport's severe restrictions on early morning and late night flights.[9]

AirAsia Japan announced in August 2013 that it would continue operation under its current branding through 26 October 2013 and would then be rebranded as Vanilla Air effective 1 November 2013. Vanilla Air would start operations with two aircraft and expand to ten aircraft by fiscal year 2015, with both domestic and international routes.[10] All of AirAsia Japan's staff were to be inherited by Vanilla Air, and the airline would focus on serving resort destinations, eventually expanding to longer routes after an initial focus on short-haul routes.[11] AirAsia Japan aircraft were to be returned to AirAsia, with Vanilla Air to start with a fleet of only two aircraft.[12]

AirAsia announced that it would start a new joint venture operation in Japan at a later date with a different partner, but the Nikkei reported that this seemed unlikely given foreign ownership restrictions and the fact that the only seasoned Japanese airline operators outside of the ANA group are Japan Airlines, which had already invested in the Jetstar Japan joint venture, and Skymark Airlines, which was unlikely to get involved.[13]

"Part 2": Re-entering the Japanese market[edit]

On 1 July 2014, it was announced that AirAsia has partnered with the online mall and travel agency Rakuten (to hold 18% of the stake), a Japanese cosmetics, energy drinks and aircraft leasing firm Noevir Holdings (9%), the sportswear firm Alpen (5%), and private equity firm Octave Japan (19%), to relaunch AirAsia Japan.[3] AirAsia will hold 49% of the stake.[14] Its initial is JPY7 billion (USD69 million), with Yoshinori Odagiri, CEO from the previous incarnation of AirAsia Japan, returns to chair. The airline is expected to commerce operation in summer 2015,[15] from a hub at Chūbu Centrair International Airport[16] with 2 Airbus A320 planes, expanding to 4 by the end of 2015.[14] On 6 October 2015, it was announced that AirAsia Japan has received their air operating license to start operating flights, as well as announcing Sendai, Sapporo, and Taipei, Taiwan as their first three destinations from Chubu Centrair International Airport.[17] After several delays, AirAsia Japan finally relaunched on 29 October 2017 with first flight from its base at Nagoya to Sapporo.[18]


Country City Airport Notes Refs
 Japan Fukuoka Fukuoka Airport Terminated
Nagoya Chubu Centrair International Airport Hub
Okinawa Naha Airport Terminated
Sapporo New Chitose Airport [19]
Sendai Sendai Airport [20]
Tokyo Narita International Airport Terminated
 South Korea Busan Gimhae International Airport Terminated
Seoul Incheon International Airport Terminated
 Taiwan Taipei Taipei Taoyuan International Airport [21]


Current Fleet[edit]

The AirAsia Japan fleet consists of the following aircraft as of February 2019:[22]

AirAsia Japan fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
Airbus A320-200 3 0 180
Total 3 0

Former Fleet[edit]

The airline previously operated a further 3 Airbus 320 aircraft.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Join BIG! AirAsia BIG Loyalty Programme". Archived from the original on 26 May 2008. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  2. ^ "ジェットスター、営業赤字90億円 LCC3社の決算出そろう". 日本経済新聞. 15 October 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  3. ^ a b Teppei Kasai (1 July 2014). "AirAsia and Rakuten team up for Japan budget airline". Reuters. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  4. ^ a b c "ANA Official Press Release on the establishment of AirAsia Japan". 21 July 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ Yuri Kageyama (3 October 2012). "Low cost flying arrives in luxury loving Japan - Yahoo! News". Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  7. ^ a b "ANA, AirAsia to Launch Budget Carrier in Japan". Wall Street Journal. 22 July 2011.
  8. ^ a b c "AirAsia-ANA tie-up likely". 15 July 2011.
  9. ^ "ANA、LCCを一本化 エアアジアとの合弁解消へ". 日本経済新聞. 10 June 2013.
  10. ^ "LCC新社名「バニラ・エア」に エアアジア・ジャパン". 日本経済新聞. 20 August 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  11. ^ "AirAsia Japan rebranded 'Vanilla Air'". Agence-France Presse. 20 August 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  12. ^ "第2の拠点空港「中部を最優先」 LCCのバニラ・エア社長". 日本経済新聞. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  13. ^ "ANA、LCC合弁解消の勝算". 日本経済新聞. 8 July 2013.
  14. ^ a b Raghuvanshi, Gaurav (1 July 2014). "AirAsia Finds Partners for Return to Japan". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  15. ^ "AirAsia Japan to make début in mid-2015". ch-aviation. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  16. ^ "Japanese retailer, Rakuten, to acquire stake in AirAsia Japan". ch-aviation. 30 June 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  17. ^ "AirAsia Japan gets operating license". Archived from the original on 8 October 2015. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
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