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Thailand

JAL budget carrier to serve Bangkok next year

Zipair Tokyo president Shingo Nishida shows off the budget carrier’s logo. (Reuters Photo)

TOKYO: Japan Airlines (JAL) says its new low-cost carrier, Zipair Tokyo, will begin offering flights next year from Narita airport, with Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) and Seoul (Incheon) its first two destinations.

Zipair Tokyo aims to eventually offer trans-Pacific and European flights as well, and to turn profitable within two years after its launch in mid-2020 to serve travel demand for the Tokyo Olympics.

The carrier plans to start operating with two Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners.

JAL, which also holds a 33.3% stake in Jetstar Japan in a joint venture with Qantas of Australia, set up wholly owned Zipair to compete against Peach, the domestic arm of rival ANA.

“We aim to cross the Pacific Ocean” from Japan in the near future, ZipAir president Shingo Nishida said on Friday. At present, few low-cost carriers offer trans-Pacific routes, he added.

Low-cost carriers currently account for only about 10% of domestic air passengers in Japan. The figure is expected to rise to 30% in the near future, while the Japanese government aims to increase the number of foreign visitors to 40 million by 2020 and 60 million by 2030.

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