The entry of three new low-cost carriers to the Japanese market within a year, despite bringing more competition, has helped consumers better understand the concept of low-cost flying.
"With three low-cost carriers [LCCs] coming into the market all at once, of course the competition is intense, but the advantage is that consumer awareness of LCCs are strong - in a market which never had LCC's before. I guess we're helping each other in that regard," Peach Aviation's chief commercial officer Luke Lovegrove said in an interview with Flightglobal.
Being the first player in the market also gives Peach first-mover advantage. AirAsia Japan and Jetstar Japan are the other two players.
The carrier, which started operations last March, can be seen as a pathfinder in dealing with regulatory issues, and also garners much respect from the authorities, an attribute that is important for companies operating in Japan, says Lovegrove.
He adds that more deregulation and airport development are also expected in the coming years as LCCs have proven that they are capable of growing new traffic instead of cannibalising the market.
Examples include Osaka Kansai and Tokyo Narita airports, which have committed to the development of the low-cost market by building dedicated low-cost terminals. Some smaller airports are also lengthening runways to allow more flying.
"Because of the economic issues in Japan, people will have to look at cheaper alternatives and low-cost flying is a smarter option for those people. We're at the beginning of what will be a very successful business," says Lovegrove.
Peach carried 1 million passengers last November, ahead of expectations, after just nine months of operations.
The carrier is based at Kansai airport and operates a fleet of seven Airbus A320s.