Japan's ANA Holdings Inc is studying whether to shift some Boeing 767 aircraft from its premium brand to its low-cost offshoots so they can launch medium-haul international flights, the airline's chief executive said on Monday. ANA, Japan's biggest airline by revenue, owns the low-cost brands Vanilla Air and Peach Aviation. Both have fleets of narrow body Airbus A320s that serve domestic and short-haul international destinations.
Vanilla, based at Tokyo's Narita International Airport and Peach, headquartered at Osaka's Kansai International Airport, had different ownership structures but are now full ANA subsidiaries. ANA CEO Yuji Hirako said there were no plans to merge the two as both were performing well with different cities as home markets.
"Both airlines are so successful," he told Reuters before an industry conference, saying ANA was considering adding medium-haul destinations of up to eight hours away from Japan to the networks of the two airlines. He did not give a timeframe for such additions which would put southeast Asian destinations in range. But the chief executive said it was a "possibility" that such a move would involve shifting some of ANA's 767s to the low-cost carriers.
Vanilla and Peach compete against Jetstar Japan, a joint venture between Japan Airlines Co Ltd (JAL) and Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd. From October 29, they will also vie with AirAsia Japan, which was a venture with ANA until it was dissolved in 2013 and then became the basis for Vanilla's launch. Malaysia's AirAsia Bhd is relaunching the carrier with new partners.
Budget airlines have a roughly 10 percent share of Japan's market for domestic and international flights, compared with as much as 40 percent in other parts of the world. Jetstar Asia and AirAsia Japan use A320 aircraft and lack wide bodies for longer international flights. ANA is retiring its 767 fleet, which has an average age of close to 20 years, and replacing them with the more fuel efficient Boeing 787. ANA's fleet included 37 passenger 767s as of June 30, 26 of them owned and the remainder leased.
Copyright Reuters, 2017