In the past few years, ANA has been rapidly leaving Japan Airlines behind, when it comes to finding new ways to grow its business.
It was the first to set up a transpacific joint venture – with Star Alliance partners United Airlines and Continental Airlines. JAL followed, with its agreement with American Airlines.
ANA has firmed up its European joint venture with Lufthansa, while JAL is still trying to find a partner and could even move away from Oneworld towards SkyTeam member Air France-KLM.
In the low-cost segment, ANA is moving forward with two joint ventures – one based in Kansai and another in Narita with AirAsia.
The Kansai operation, Peach Aviation, is a joint venture with several Hong Kong-based investment firms. It received its air operators’ certificate in July and plans to begin operations in March next year with a fleet of Airbus A320s.
JAL has just firmed up its plans to tackle the LCC market, through a tie-up with Qantas and Mitsubishi. Jetstar Japan will launch services from Tokyo by the end of 2012 with three A320s and eventually expand the fleet to 24 aircraft.
Ito admits that in many ways, ANA is the “anti-JAL”, with its nimbleness and ability to make deals that enhance the offering to its customers and partners.
“That has been the case in the past and will be the case in the future. As a company, we need to make an effort on our own to stay competitive, without depending on outside help. That is what makes us successful,” Ito says.