NIIGATA, JAPAN — Japanese startup Toki Air has obtained its air operator's certificate (AOC) and will begin flight services on June 30, marking the first new independent airline launch in Japan in 14 years.

On March 31, Toki Air reported that it had received its AOC from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, having submitted its application in late November 2022. The low-cost carrier, a collaboration between the Niigata Chamber of Commerce and the Niigata Association of Corporate Executives, has leased two ATR72-600s with registrations respectively JA01QQ (MSN 1565) and JA02QQ (MSN 1620), from the Danish lessor Nordic Aviation Capital.

Starting June 30, Toki Air will operate two daily roundtrips between Niigata and Sapporo Okadama. The most recent independent airline launch in Japan before this was Fuji Dream Airlines in 2009, which was not associated with any major carriers. Toki Air, based solely in Niigata, was founded to enhance connectivity to and from the airport. Currently five other airlines service the airport, including ANA - All Nippon Airways, Fuji Dream Airlines, Ibex Airlines, JAL - Japan Airlines, and Korean Air.

In addition, Toki Air has disclosed that it has signed a general terms agreement (GTA) with Taiwan-based Air Asia Company Limited (AACL) for maintenance inspections, repairs, and other services for their ATRs. The publicly listed maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) company is not affiliated with the Malaysia-based AirAsia Group.