Japanese LCCs face more safety scrutiny: Vanilla Air

Hong Kong
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Japanese authorities have placed low-cost carriers under greater scrutiny than their full-service peers, says the chief financial officer of Vanilla Air.

“Low-cost carriers are audited every three months,” Katsuya Goto said at the ISTAT Asia conference. He adds that by comparison, most full-service carriers are only audited every 12 months.

Jetstar Japan and AirAsia Japan were reprimanded by Japanese regulators last year after oversights related to the maintenance of some of their aircraft emerged.

Osaka based low-cost carrier Peach Aviation also came under scrutiny after it revealed last week that one of its A320s flew below safe altitude while on approach to Ishigaki. It had earlier warned that due to a pilot shortage it would operate a reduced schedule between May and October this year.

Goto says that in addition to the regulatory pressures that low-cost carriers face, Japanese passengers also places a greater emphasis on safety, security and on-time performance than elsewhere in Asia. He says this could have been an issue for AirAsia Japan, which eventually led to All Nippon Airways buying out AirAsia from the joint venture last October.

Narita-based Vanilla Air emerged last December from the shell of AirAsia Japan. It has a fleet of six Airbus A320s, and flies a mix of domestic and international routes, focusing on leisure traffic.