What is this... an airline for ANTS?!?
Competition in the airline industry is intense these days, with bargain-hunting air travelers in line to receive the fruits of corporate cost-cutting. Speaking of which, Peach Aviation Ltd., a new venture partially owned by Japan's All Nippon Airways, will be offering passengers “surprisingly” low airfares once flights begin next March.
As Japan's first LCC (Low Cost Carrier), Peach Aviation - “Peach” is an anagram for “cheap” - will start slow with flights to and from the Japanese cities of Fukuoka and Sapporo, connecting the airline's hub at Osaka's underutilized Kansai Airport. Two months later in May of 2012, the carrier's first international route will connect Osaka with Seoul, Korea, via Incheon International Airport. The airline hopes to lure customers by offering fares as much as 50% lower than those from major Japanese carriers like the recently out-of-bankruptcy JAL.
Peach Aviation's commitment to lower costs extends to the uniforms worn by its air crew – some of the outfits are hardly discernible from average casual street duds. Currently, the company only has 50 employees but as it gears up for the March 2012 launch it expects to increase that number to around 200.
As for hardware, Peach Aviation plans to stock its fleet with ten Airbus A320 medium-range, narrow-body jets over its first two years of operations.
The full complement of passenger aircraft will allow the company to increase the number and frequency of flights on the initial three routes and also expand service to other cities in Japan, Taiwan and mainland China. Best-case scenarios put forward by the company foresee Peach carrying 6 million passengers annually on 16 jets in five year's time.
Of course, all of these grand plans depend on how the traveling public reacts to Peach Aviation's fares. According to Shinichi Inoue (top photo), chief executive officer of the new airline, Peach Aviation will offer “fares low enough to surprise them all year round to boost potential demand" for its flight services.
“Our promise is to provide safe, low-cost travel 365 days of the year,” stated Inoue, “making air travel easier and more accessible.” Considering the checkered history of low-cost airlines, Inoue & company shouldn't be too surprised if things don't work out as “peachy” as they wish. (via Japan Probe, WSJ and Japan Today)