SkynetAsia Airways, Japan's latest independent airline, launched services on 1 August.

The carrier won final operating approvals from the transport ministry on 31 July, allowing it to start five-times-daily Boeing 737-400 services between Miyazaki and Tokyo. Its air operator's certificate was secured in May.

SkynetAsia plans to increase services to Tokyo from its Miyazaki base to six times daily from next month using its two 737-400s. It hopes to add services to Fukuoka and Osaka next year.

The carrier is competing with the three Japanese majors ANA, Japan Airlines (JAL) and Japan Air System (JAS), largely on price. SkynetAsia says one-way fares for Miyazaki-Tokyo services are around a third lower than those of its rivals.

Competition is expected to increase in October, when JAL and JAS begin to merge their operations. Those carriers, as well as ANA, have already announced plans to reduce fares for many of their domestic services.

SkynetAsia was established as Pan Asia Airways in 1997 and has worked on launch plans ever since. It is the fourth independent airline to have been launched since 1998.

The other independents are Skymark Airlines, Air Do - also known as Hokkaido International Airlines - and Fair Inc.

Source: Flight International