ANA, AirAsia in JV for low-cost carrier

Kuala Lumpur: All Nippon Airways (ANA), Asia's biggest listed carrier, and AirAsia Bhd announced Thursday the formation of a joint venture, AirAsia Japan - a low-cost carrier which will be based at Tokyo Narita. The airline will operate under the AirAsia brand and will commence services in August 2012, after securing necessary approvals.

The carrier will serve domestic and international destinations in northeast Asia.

ANA will take a 51 per cent stake in the venture and AirAsia will own the remaining 49 per cent, AirAsia said in a filing to the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange yesterday.

The carrier will serve both the domestic Japanese market and international routes in northeast Asia, with services to South Korea, Taiwan and mainland China, the statement said.

ANA president and CEO, Shinichiro Ito, commented, ''By combining AirAsia's business model and brand with ANA's depth of knowledge of the Japanese market, we aim to bring new value to our customers and generate new demand. We believe that AirAsia Japan will make air travel more accessible and provide a convenient and efficient travel option for a wide range of people.''

The low cost carrier will challenge rivals, including Tokyo-based Skymark Airlines Inc and China's Spring Airlines for market share.