AirAsia Japan to offer long-haul flights using A330s

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Start-up low-cost carrier AirAsia Japan will provide long-haul flights by 2013 operating Airbus A330 aircraft.

The carrier, a joint venture between Malaysia's AirAsia and Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA), is expected to begin operations in August next year.

It will serve the domestic Japanese market and northeast Asian countries such as South Korea, Taiwan and China.

The airline's CEO Kazuyuki Iwakata, however, has now said that the carrier intends to offer long-haul services to destinations such as Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Sydney and Bali.

The low-cost carrier will begin operations with Airbus A320s next year and introduce A330s from 2013, a spokesman added. The carrier will likely purchase up to 10 A330 aircraft.

Singapore Airlines' new long-haul low-cost carrier Scoot will also launch services by the first half of 2012. The carrier will begin operations with four Boeing 777-200s and will offer services to cities in Australia and China for a start.

"Scoot might be a competitor but the target of AirAsia Japan is to create new demand for air transport. In Japan now, there is no low-cost carrier and we are sure we can do this," said the ANA spokesman.

AirAsia Japan will be based at Tokyo's Narita airport. ANA will own 67% of the voting shares in the joint venture, with Air Asia holding the remaining 33%.