Air Japan, a subsidiary of ANA Holdings, launched a route connecting Narita Airport and Bangkok, Thailand on the 9th, and a commemorative event was held.

Air Japan is a new, low-cost brand that operates medium-haul international flights, and is promoting a "third brand" that is between full-service and LCC.

On the 9th, the brand's first flight between Narita Airport and Bangkok went into service, and a commemorative event was held.

President Hideki Mineguchi greeted the audience by saying, ``Despite the coronavirus pandemic, we have prepared well and are happy to be here today.I hope you enjoy a comfortable flight to Bangkok.''

After celebrating the launch with a ribbon cutting, passengers boarded the aircraft through the boarding gate.

According to the company, the booking rate for this month's Bangkok flight has reached 96%, and many of them are passengers visiting Japan from Thailand.

It is scheduled to launch flights to Seoul on the 22nd of this month, and to Singapore this April.

A man in his 50s from Fukuoka Prefecture, who is on the flight, said, ``I came here aiming for the first day of service.I'm already a year old, so it would be difficult to get a seat like that of an LCC with a distance like Bangkok.I'm grateful that the seats are wide.'' I was talking.

Another woman in her 40s said, ``I was looking forward to the flight.The aircraft had cute colors, and I even made fans and happies to show my support.''

Air Japan's aims and characteristics

In the airline industry, airlines such as All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines, which are known as ``full-service carriers,'' have provided extensive services such as in-flight meals and first class.

On the other hand, low-cost carriers (LCCs) have been increasing their presence in recent years, and are achieving affordable fares by increasing the number of seats and reducing services.

ANA Group's Air Japan, which will be operating this time, has a "third brand" that is conscious of the gap between full service and LCC.

According to the company, since business demand in the aviation industry has plummeted since the coronavirus pandemic, they are taking a strategy to fully capture tourism demand.

We also needed to differentiate ourselves from LCCs, whose market is said to be saturated with short-haul routes, so we set our sights on medium-haul routes to Southeast Asia.

It is particularly targeting inbound tourists visiting Japan from Thailand, and the number of tourists visiting Japan from Thailand, which will be launched this time, exceeded 1.2 million in 2019 before the coronavirus, the highest number among Southeast Asian countries.

The in-flight service is full of ideas to attract the target audience.


all seats are economy class, but to ensure comfort even on long journeys, the seats are spaced wider than on conventional LCCs, and are on par with full-service airlines.

▽Also, since Japanese food is popular in Thailand, we have prepared a selection of Japanese food for the in-flight meals so that you can feel the ``Japanese'' feeling from the inside.

▽Furthermore, the cabin attendant uniforms are designed to incorporate the atmosphere of Japanese clothing.

President Hideki Mineguchi says, ``If you go to Japan, we want to grow the brand to be Air Japan.We want to focus completely on Japan and move forward with an edge.''

Japan Airlines Group also launches a new strategic airline company

Meanwhile, the Japan Airlines Group has already launched an airline company with a new strategy.

Zip Air launched in 2020.

According to the company, until then, within the group, Japan Airlines operated medium- and long-haul routes such as Southeast Asia and North America, while LCCs operated short-haul routes such as China and South Korea.

ZipAir aims to develop a new field of low-cost medium-to-long-distance routes, and currently operates nine routes, mainly in Southeast Asia and North America.

In order to increase comfort during long journeys, seats are spaced widely apart, and fully flat seats that can be folded 180 degrees have also been installed.

This seat is said to be less than half the price of a comparable full-service seat, and depending on the route, this seat may be booked out first.

In addition, in an effort to capture demand from families traveling with small children, we have set fares that allow children under the age of 6 to ride at a lower price.

President Shingo Nishida said, ``Our concept is to create ``just the right thing,'' rather than sacrificing quality for lower freight rates or vice versa.We aim to create a different model that goes beyond traditional LCCs. I think there are," he said.

Expert: ``Competition is expected to intensify''

While Air Japan and Zip Air keep their fares lower than full-service carriers like All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines, they also offer features such as wider seat spacing, and although in-flight meals are optional, they offer distinctive menus. We are trying to differentiate ourselves from LCC = low-cost airlines.

Professor Hajime Tozaki of Oberlin University, who is an expert on the airline industry, describes the emergence of airlines that are positioned between full-service and LCCs as ``hybridization.''

Professor Tozaki said, ``With the traditional LCC model, which has narrow seats and carries a large number of passengers at a low price, traveling becomes a physical burden.Therefore, there is a demand to choose an airline that offers high quality service even if it is a little more expensive. "We are trying to incorporate that into the world."

In addition, regarding the fact that both companies are focusing on routes in Southeast Asia, ``Southeast Asia is a cash cow as it continues to develop economically, and the number of visitors to Japan is increasing, so it is natural for them to aim for inbound demand. "Traditional LCCs are common, and it is difficult to develop new business with similar business formats.Japanese airlines have a good reputation for the quality of their service, so it is important to differentiate themselves on that point."

Regarding the future of the airline industry, he said, ``Since the coronavirus pandemic, conventional LCCs have been forced to struggle considerably.On the other hand, full-service companies will also have to cut costs in the future.If that happens, both business models will differentiate themselves. ``There is a movement towards hybridization, and as a result, there is a possibility that companies will become providers of ``hybrid'' services, and competition is expected to intensify further.''