Japanese low-cost carrier Peach Aviation has received its Air Operators' Certificate (AOC) from the country's Civil Aviation Bureau.
Peach, a joint venture between All Nippon Airways (ANA) and several Hong Kong-based investment firms, says that this allows it to formally proceed with plans to begin operations in 2012.
The airline, which is based in Osaka's Kansai airport, plans to start with domestic services to Fukuoka and Sapporo in March 2012, and then to Seoul in May 2012. It will operate a fleet of Airbus A320s.
"As Japan's first dedicated LCC airline, Peach Aviation will provide new travel options at affordable prices and will act as a bridge between the growing economies of Japan and other Asian countries," said the airline
Shinichi Inoue, CEO of Peach Aviation, said that the getting the AOC was a "significant milestone" for the carrier. Safety, he added, was an important priority for the airline.
Peach Aviation is 33.4% owned by ANA. Hong Kong investment firm Innovation Network Corp of Japan (INCJ) has a 33.3% stake, while Hong Kong's First Investment Group owns the remaining 33.3% stake, the maximum foreign ownership currently allowed in Japan.
It has appointed the former chairman of Ryanair, Patrick Murphy, as its corporate advisor.