Jetstar Japan to Establish Nagoya Operating Base

Asian low-cost carrier Jetstar Japan is to open a new operational base at Nagoya Chūbu Centrair International Airport this year as competition in the domestic Japanese market intensifies.  The airline, which inaugurated flights in July 2012 between Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo, Fukuoka and Okinawa is set to commence new links from Nagoya to Fukuoka and Sapporo from March 31, 2013 and to Kagoshima from May 31, 2013, operating on a daily or twice daily basis.

Jetstar Japan, a joint venture between the Qantas Group, Japan Airlines, Mitsubishi Corporation and Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation, is one of a number of new entrants to the Japanese domestic market over the past year.  It initially started operations with three Airbus A320s but has agreed lease agreements with five companies to increase its fleet to 24 aircraft over the next couple of years.  It now operates seven A320s and is due to take two delivery of two further examples in February to support this latest network growth.

Since launching in July 2012, Jetstar Japan has carried more than 600,000 passengers across its existing network.  “The popularity of our low fares in the first six months of flying highlights just how much Japanese travellers have embraced low cost flying,” sai Jayne Hrdlicka, Chief Executive Officer, Jetstar Group.  “Our new services to Oita, Nagoya and Kagoshima will help stimulate demand by making air travel more accessible to more passengers in these areas and also encourage tourists to visit the regions.”

The domestic market at Nagoya Chūbu Centrair International is dominated by All Nippon Airways (ANA) which held a 71.6 per cent share of last year’s flight capacity, followed by Japan Airlines with a 14.9 per cent share and Skymark Airlines with a 7.0 per cent share.  The markets of Fukuoka and Kagoshima are already flown from Nogoya Chūbu by ANA through its mainline and Air Nippon and IBEX Airline partners, while Sapporo is served by ANA, JAL and Skymark Airlines.  It is understood that AirAsia Japan is also considering expanding its network to Nagoya Chūbu and could announce its own network plans in the coming weeks.

Elsewhere in the Japanese domestic market, ANA Group and JAL Group, the parents of leading Japanese carriers ANA and JAL have announced they have submitted their proposed route network for the summer timetable commencing March 31, 2013 to October 26, 2013 to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.  Both companies plan to take advantage of the increase in slots at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to introduce new service and boost frequencies on existing routes as further expanding their network to improve their competitive position against the new Japanese low-cost start-ups.

The provisional network plans remain subject to approval by Japanese authorities and the tentative schedule could change further due to the ongoing uncertainty over the operation of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  ANA is currently the largest operator of the modern generation airliner with 17 aircraft in service, while JAL operates seven but both have been forced to modify its schedule and switch aircraft on both domestic and international routes following the grounding of the type last week. 

In its proposed summer 2013 domestic schedule ANA Group will launch daily flights between Tokyo Narita and Hiroshima and twice daily services between Akita and Sapporo from March 31, 2013 as well as resuming daily flights to Okinawa from Kumamoto and Nagasaki and between Tokyo Haneda and Ishigaki. 

The additional slots at Tokyo Haneda mean that from March 31, 2013 ANA Group will add an additional frequency on its routes to Sapporo (from 17 to 18 a week); Hakodate (from two to three a day); Komatsu (from five to six a day at start and end of S13 schedule); Fukuoka (from 18 to 19 a day until June 30, 2013); Kobe (from two to three a day until June 30, 2013); Kochi (from four to five a day June 30, 2013) and Yamaguchi Ube (from five to six a day until May 31, 2013).

ANA Group’s domestic frequency growth will not be solely limited to Tokyo Haneda and a second daily rotation will be introduced on the Tokyo Narita – Sendai route, while away from the capital city network changes will also be introduced across other domestic points, most notably Osaka Itami.  From March 31, 2013 the company will boost links to Kagoshima (from five to six a day), Sendai (from seven to nine a day), Miyazaki (from four to six a day), and Fukuoka (from nine to ten a day).  However, ANA Group will reduce its flights to Matsuyama (from eleven to nine a day) and Kochi (from nine to six a day).

Elsewhere, ANA Group will increase frequencies in summer 2013 on its routes between Nagoya Chūbu and Sendai (from four to five a day) and between Fukuoka and Komatsu (from two to four a day), while its seasonal Sapporo – Okinawa link will continue to operate through the summer on a daily basis.  There will be cuts on routes between Nagoya Chūbu and Sapporo (from seven to six a day) and Okinawa (from four to three a day) as well as on routes between Okinawa and Ishigaki (from nine to eight a day) and between Osaka Kobe and Sapporo (from three to one a day from June 21, 2013).  Meanwhile, daily seasonal routes between Osaka Kansai and Wakkanai, Nagoya Chūbu and Wakkanai and Okayama and Sapporo will be stopped alongside the three times daily Osaka Kobe - Okinawa link, which closes from June 1, 2013.

In its own planned schedule for the 2013 fiscal year (year ending March 31, 2014), JAL has also revealed an expansion at Tokyo Haneda, including the launch of a new daily route to Nagoya Chūbu from March 31, 2013 and frequency growth on its existing services to Sapporo (from 17 to 18 daily) and to Naha (from 13 to 14 daily). 

JAL, like ANA, will also expand at Osaka Itami with the introduction of daily services to Hakodate and Misawa and a three times daily link to Matsuyama.  With effect from March 31, 2013, the airline will also increase frequency on its current routes to Fukuoka (from two to five times daily); Sendai (from six to seven flights a day); Hanamaki (from three to four service a day); Niigata (from three to four a day); Oita (from two to three a day) and Miyazaki (from five to six a day), while flights to Sapporo will increase from two to three a day from May 1, 2013.

Elsewhere, JAL will boost flights between Fukuoaka and Matsuyama (from six to seven a day), between Kagoshima and Matsuyama (from one to two a day) and between Kagoshima and Yukashima (from five to six a day) from March 31, 2013.  Capacity between Osaka Kansai and Naha will increase with four instead of three flights per day between April 16, 2013 and June 30, 2013, while additional daily frequencies will be added from Sapporo to Hanamaki from March 31, 2013 and to Akita, Aomori, Memanbetsu and Sendai during August 2013.

In the 12 months ending September 2012, approximately 82.5 million O&D passengers travelled by air within Japan.  ANA held a 48.2 per cent share of this traffic; its closest rival being JAL with a 28.3 per cent share.  In the table below we highlight how air capacity has changed in the domestic Japanese market over the past couple of years. 

Our analysis shows that ANA has boosted its own share of capacity from 37.1 per cent in 2010 to 50.3 per cent in 2013, although these figures are blurred by the consolidation of the operations of subsidiary Air Nippon back into the mainline operation.  However, even when you include the Air Nippon data, the 2010 figure increases to 43.7 per cent, showing the increasingly strong hold ANA has on the Japanese domestic market.  Meanwhile, JAL, including its partners and affiliates has seen its own share of capacity slip from 33.7 per cent in 2010 to 28.0 per cent in 2013.

The emergence of budget operators in impacting the market as the almost doubling of capacity at Skymark Airlines demonstrates.  Recent new start-ups AirAsia Japan, Jetstar Japan and Peach don’t actually make it into the analysis of the top ten carriers by capacity in 2013 with just 0.6 per cent, 0.5 per cent and 0.5 per cent shares but these operators will begin to influence the local market significantly in future years.




Available Seats* (2013)

Marketshare (2013)

Marketshare (2012)

Marketshare (2011)

Marketshare (2010)


All Nippon Airways (NH)


50.3 %

48.3 %

42.2 %

37.1 %


Japan Airlines (JL)


16.7 %

17.0 %

18.5 %

27.8 %


JAL Express (JC)


8.9 %

8.2 %

6.9 %

5.4 %


Skymark Airlines (BC)


7.4 %

7.7 %

7.3 %

4.3 %


Japan Transocean Air (NU)


2.9 %

3.2 %

3.5 %

3.6 %


Hokkaido International Airlines (HD)


2.8 %

2.8 %

4.6 %

5.6 %


J-Air (JL)


2.4 %

2.3 %

2.3 %

1.8 %


Skynet Asia Airways (LQ)


2.2 %

2.2 %

1.2 %

1.9 %


Starflyer (7G)


2.0 %

2.7 %

2.5 %

2.2 %


Ibex Airlines (FW)


1.6 %

1.0 %

0.7 %

0.5 %






* based on already loaded and provisional schedules for 2013.