Jetstar Japan to begin international services in 2013

Tokyo
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Jetstar Japan aims to begin international services from Tokyo's Narita International Airport and Osaka's Kansai International Airport in early 2013.

Negotiations are ongoing with potential airports, but the low-cost carrier has set its sight on destinations in China, South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippine capital Manila, chief executive Miyuki Suzuki says in an interview.

"China is a very important market, and we will look at points there. Seoul's Incheon airport is an important hub, Taiwan has a good relationship with Japan and there is a lot of demand from Manila," she says.

"All of these are also markets where the Jetstar brands have made inroads and established strong relationships with the airports. That will help us too."

The airline is also open to interline and codeshare agreements with other carriers, in particular, its shareholders Japan Airlines and Qantas Airways, as a way to get feed for its regional and domestic network.

Suzuki, however, says there will only be a gradual ramp-up in international services instead of rapid growth, especially since domestic demand has been very strong since the airline began operations in June.

"We have to see where the yields are strong. There has been a very good response to the start up of low-cost services within Japan and this will remain our priority in the near term," says Suzuki.

The airline is scheduled to receive 24 A320s within two years of operations and Suzuki says that deploying this capacity successfully will be key to the airline's success. Some of this will be used to increase frequencies on existing services and grow the domestic network, she adds.

"We will go where the customers want to fly, but it also has to be to airports that are attractive. Narita and Kansai are important because of their population base and so we have to be there, but we will be wary of other airports that price themselves out," says Suzuki.