ANA Holdings has declined to comment on a report of a possible merger between its low-cost units Peach and Vanilla Air.

Nikkei Asian Review had said in a 17 March report that the holding company has decided to merge the two carriers by 2020 to better compete in the Asian airline market and to tackle "cost and other issues". Peach would be the surviving brand upon merger, as it operates more international flights than Vanilla.

When contacted, the firm says: "ANA Holdings continually reviews our investments and operations across industries at the local, regional and global level that support our business objectives. At this time, we are not able to comment on any speculations or confirm any details".

Last month, the holding company also disclosed that it is looking to launch a medium-haul LCC around 2020, as part of a greater focus on the budget market. This airline will use "small size medium-haul aircraft".

The same document, released as an update to the mid-term strategy, also indicated that Peach and Vanilla would continue to play a role in capturing demand from Asia. It owns 100% of Vanilla Air and 67% of Peach.

Last June, ANA Holdings' vice-chairman Osamu Shinobe told FlightGlobal that the two LCCs will continue to function separately. He added that the group sees the low-cost market as a growth opportunity, and that Peach and Vanilla are "two pillars" supporting that.

Source: Cirium Dashboard