IATA: JAL sees Japanese LCCs ultimately successful

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Japan Airlines’ chairman Masaru Onishi says that low-cost carriers will ultimately be very successful in Japan despite the early growing pains they have faced.

“In Japan the LCC business model is destined for success,” he said at an event on the sidelines of the IATA AGM in Doha.

JAL has exposure to the fledgling budget market in Japan through its 33% stake in Jetstar Japan. Qantas, Century Tokyo Leasing and Mitsubishi Corporation are the other investors in the Narita based low-cost carrier, which has a fleet of 18 Airbus A320s.

He acknowledges however that LCCs, including Jetstar Japan, have faced some regulatory hurdles that have hampered their expansion plans. These have included more frequent audits, which in some cases have seen budget carriers censured for small procedural lapses.

Jetstar Japan told Flightglobal in it would slightly postpone the opening of its Osaka Kansai base to 13 June due to delays in getting its engineering procedures in place.

Those difficulties aside, Onishi says that JAL is fully supportive of its investment in the budget carrier.

“The job of Japan Airlines at this point of time is to support Jetstar Japan and provide them with an environment that facilitates expansion in the market.”