Link Airs to start operations in March 2014

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Japanese start-up carrier Link Airs is expected to receive its air operator's certificate by November and start operations in March 2014.

"We've applied and they've acknowledged. We expect no problems with the application, and to receive the certificate within the next two to four months," an airline official tells Flightglobal Pro.

She adds that Link will operate under the model of a "regional [low-cost carrier] LCC", out of Fukuoka Airport, located on the island of Kyushu.

Link will have a fleet of three ATR 72-600s, and has planned services on three routes.

These will be five times and thrice daily services from Fukuoka to Miyasaki and Matsuyama respectively, and twice daily services on the Kitakyushu-Matsuyama route.

The Japanese carrier is expected to take delivery of its first two ATR 72s in October, which will be fitted with 68 seats. It has yet to decide whether it will be a full turboprop operator, or if it could add jets to its fleet in the future, the official says.

She adds that Links is wholly owned by businessman Sugiyama Koichi, and although full-service carrier StarFlyer has given it "support and advice", there are no plans yet for any formal collaboration with the carrier. StarFlyer is also based at Fukuoka.

Link will be the first Japanese airline to operate ATR aircraft.