At a June 25 meeting of its board of directors, Japan’s ANA Holdings has decided to dissolve AirAsia Japan, its low cost carrier joint venture with Malaysia’s AirAsia Berhad.
AirAsia Berhad is the parent company of AirAsia, Asia’s largest low-cost airline, and a shareholder in the other AirAsia franchise carriers which have been or are being established in other Asian countries.
ANA Holdings ‒ which is the parent holding company of All Nippon Airways and low-cost airline Peach Aviation, like AirAsia Japan an Airbus A320 operator ‒ signed an agreement with AirAsia Berhad to dissolve the AirAsia Japan joint venture and will acquire AirAsia Berhad’s shareholding in the JV.
Currently, ANA Holdings holds 67 per cent of the voting shares and 51 per cent on a capital-invested basis in AirAsia Japan. The impact of the dissolution of the joint venture on ANA Holdings will be limited, according to the company
AirAsia Japan, which is based at Narita International Airport near Tokyo, will continue to operate under the AirAsia brand until October 31, 2013.
After that, the carrier will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of ANA. According to the Wikipedia entry for AirAsia Japan, ANA plans to continue AirAsia Japan’s service under the Peach Aviation brand.
Japanese media group Nihon Keizai Shimbun had previously reported that AirAsia Japan had the lowest load factors of the three new-entrant low-cost airlines in Japan ‒ Peach Aviation and Starflyer being the other two.
(However, Skymark Airlines might also be considered a low-cost carrier, particularly when it begins operating the Airbus A380 superjumbos it has ordered ‒ Skymark reportedly plans to operate the aircraft in single-class configuration seating up to 850 passengers.)
According to Wikipedia, Nihon Keizai Shimbun posited several reasons for the failure of the AirAsia Japan joint venture. One was an online booking system which was not fully translated into Japanese and so was frustrating to many domestic customers.
Another reason given was AirAsia’s Japan’s failure to use travel agents for ticket distribution, since travel agents still account for a major portion of domestic airline-ticket sales in Japan.
A third possible reason given for AirAsia Japan’s indifferent performance was the inconvenience of its main hub at Narita International Airport and the airport’s severe restrictions on early morning and late-night flights.