AirJapan sets sights beyond Bangkok, plans expansion from Kansai International Airport.

Key Points:

  • ANA Holdings has identified the Southeast Asian market as a new avenue for growth post-pandemic and plans to initiate a Narita-Bangkok route under the AirJapan brand.

  • AirJapan’s service, priced competitively for families in Southeast Asia, promises more legroom, superior meal choices on its Boeing 787-8, and fares starting from 15,500 yen.

  • With Japan's recent relaxation of COVID-19 travel restrictions and a weaker yen, ANA anticipates a surge in foreign visitors, leading to increased profitability for its low-cost operations.

TOKYO — ANA Holdings is channeling its efforts towards capturing the rebounding leisure travel demand in the Southeast Asian market, spotlighting Thailand as a prime destination. The airline conglomerate has chosen its recently established low-cost-carrier, AirJapan, to pioneer this endeavor with a new service linking Narita to Bangkok, scheduled for a February launch.

AirJapan is set to operate six weekly round-trip flights on this inaugural route. The starting fare for its "Simple" service has been pegged at 15,500 yen ($108). This is a tad pricier than the rates provided by Peach Aviation, another subsidiary low-cost carrier of the ANA group. AirJapan is also introducing "Standard" and "Selected" fare categories, which cater to a clientele seeking enhanced in-flight meal options and varied baggage allowances.

With families from Southeast Asia as its target audience, AirJapan has tailored its offerings to be a cut above traditional LCCs. Promising a comfortable journey on their 324-seat Boeing 787-8 aircraft, passengers can expect generous legroom and a diverse menu that features traditional Japanese meals like sushi and chicken and egg rice bowls.

ANA's strategizing doesn't end with Bangkok. The company disclosed potential plans to further diversify AirJapan's route map, hinting at future services from the Kansai International Airport. According to ANA, this low-cost strategy for AirJapan will enable profit generation from routes that might not be feasible under its flagship brand.

Meanwhile, Peach Aviation, ANA's other low-cost offshoot, has been making waves in the domestic circuit, albeit it has extended its reach to international locales including Bangkok, Seoul, Shanghai, and Taipei.

A buoyant outlook awaits as ANA has witnessed a spike in international travelers to Japan. This can be attributed to the government's relaxation of COVID-19-induced travel curbs in late April and the country's weakening yen, making it an appealing travel hotspot.