The Qantas Group is teaming up with fellow Oneworld member Japan Airlines and Mitsubishi to create a new Japanese budget carrier by the end of 2012, Jetstar Japan.
The three companies will each hold a one third share of the new airline, which will launch with an initial fleet of three new A320 aircraft configured for 180 economy passengers.
Alan Joyce, Qantas’ CEO, said the new venture will offer “low fares to the Japanese travelling public”.
“This is a major opportunity in a major market,” he said, adding that competitors are “circling the opportunities” in the region, making it important to “act now”.
“There is probably only a brief window to establish a leading aviation position in the market.”
Qantas already owns Jetstar, a budget airline set up in 2004 with bases in Singapore and Melbourne which serves Japan from Australia.
Jetstar Japan will start domestic flights by the end of next year, initially flying from Tokyo Narita and Osaka Kansai International airports.
While yet to be confirmed, other destinations could include Sapporo, Fukuoka and Okinawa.
Jetstar Japan will also fly to short-haul international destinations – where exactly has not been announced, but they will include “key Asian cities”.
Masaru Onishi, JAL’s president, said the new airline will allow JAL to “competitively serve a larger part of the Japanese market”.
“We are confident that Jetstar Japan will broaden the spectrum of travellers as it creates new demand in this market,” he said.
“It will encourage even more movement of people within the country and also increase the number of visitors from Asia to Japan.
“We anticipate this to stimulate consumer spending and play a role in revitalizing the Japanese economy.”