Haneda slots are greatest future opportunity: ANA

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All Nippon Airways (ANA) says that the recent allocation of new international slots at Tokyo Haneda International airport will be the key platform for the airline's growth in the short term.

In a strategy update, the Star Alliance carrier says that the additional Haneda slots represent “the greatest business opportunity for the foreseeable future” as it continues to face challenges because of the weakened yen, higher fuel prices and intense competition.

ANA was recently awarded 11 out of 16 new international slots at Haneda that will become available next year, although rival Japan Airlines is challenging the allocation.

“ANA will take advantage of the opportunity presented by the expansion of slots at Haneda to build a network from/to/via the Tokyo metropolitan area capturing demand from high value customers by utilising ANA's unique position as Haneda's largest international route network carrier,” it says.

The airline adds that it expects the domestic environment to be challenged by lower fares due to rising competition from low-cost carriers and the high-speed rail. In response, it plans to adjust capacity and introduce a new fare structure to ensure profitability of its business.

In addition, the airline reiterated plans to further grow its two low-cost carrier businesses. Japan AirAsia will be relaunched as Vanilla Air from 1 November with a focus on “international resort routes”, and is considering services to Hong Kong and Micronesia.

In addition, Osaka-based Peach Aviation “will continue to strengthen the business base by expanding the network.”

On the cargo front, ANA says it aims to carve out ANA Cargo as a separate operating company and move its freighter business to a profitable position in the short term by expanding its network and improving aircraft utilisation.

It also expects to strengthen alliances with Nippon Cargo Airlines and Lufthansa as well as logistics firm Yamato Holdings to bolster its position in the air cargo market.

In addition, parent company ANA Holdings will continue to pursue its strategy of investing in Asian aviation-related businesses, which has already seen it acquire Pan Am International Flight Academy and a 49% stake in Myanmar carrier Asian Wings Airways.

ANA Holdings is also planning to launch a new aircraft maintenance business in Okinawa, aimed at tapping into the dramatic rise in demand for MRO services in the region.

ANA Holdings reported a 46% fall in net income to Y20.1 billion ($205 million) for the half-year to the end of September, and has cut its net profit forecast for the full-year by 67% to Y15 billion.