AirAsia Japan to shrink fleet size from August

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AirAsia Japan will begin returning its Airbus A320 aircraft to AirAsia, as it winds down the joint venture between the Malaysian low-cost carrier and All Nippon Airways (ANA).

Out of the five aircraft it currently operates, two aircraft will be returned in August and September, leaving it with three aircraft until the joint venture ceases operations, says an airline spokeswoman.

That will facilitate AirAsia Japan ceasing operations from Nagoya from 1 September, with the cancellation of daily Nagoya-Seoul Incheon, and twice daily Nagoya-Sapporo and Nagoya-Fukuoka services.

The airline will also end its daily Tokyo Narita-Okinawa service and reduce the Tokyo Narita-Sapporo frequency from thrice to once daily from 1 October.

However, the spokeswoman adds that the airline will continue to operate daily services from Tokyo Narita to Busan and Taipei Taiyuan, and twice daily services to Fukuoka and Seoul Incheon.

ANA and AirAsia announced in June that they would dissolve their AirAsia Japan joint venture on 31 October following a series of disagreements between the two airlines over the direction of the joint venture low-cost carrier. As part of that decision, ANA agreed to pay yen (Y) 2.45 billion ($24.8 million) to buy out AirAsia's 49% stake in AirAsia Japan, and announced that it would continue to operate the Tokyo Narita-based low-cost carrier under a new brand.

ANA is planning for the new low-cost carrier to relaunch operations in December and will announce the new branding around mid-August.