Japanese start-up Zipair is positioning itself as a mid- to long-haul carrier and has plans for transpacific flights.
The Japan Airlines subsidiary, which aims to operate a fleet of 10 Boeing 787s, notes the Dreamliner’s status as a best seller among major Japanese and US carriers. As such, the ease of procurement and maintenance makes it a good choice for transpacific routes, it said during a joint media briefing with Boeing at the Singapore air show.
Zipair aims to be the first low-cost carrier to operate the sector, after it obtains ETOPS certification. It meets the criteria on two of three fronts – maintenance and flight management, by virtue of tapping on JAL resources – and is working on pilot training.
Prior to that, the Tokyo Narita-based airline will launch in May, first with Bangkok flights, followed by a Seoul service from July.
Zipair says it aims to become a “new basic” class of carriers, one that sits between the low-cost and full-service categories that have the aviation industry “polarised”.
“As a mid- to long-haul carrier, I don’t want our customers to feel exhausted by our flights,” says Zipair president Shingo Nishida.
The carrier recently unveiled the interior of its first 787-8, transferred from parent JAL.
Elaborating on that, it states that doing away with monitors and using synthetic leather for its seats reduced the aircraft weight by 500kg – equivalent to a 29% reduction per passenger – despite an increased number of seats.
“Currently we are recruiting pilots for the third aircraft onwards… In spring 2021, Zipair will receive its third aircraft.”