Computer rendering of A320neo in Jetstar Japan livery. Courtesy, Airbus

Qantas Group’s new low-cost subsidiary Jetstar Japan has pushed up the launch of its domestic services to July 3, several months ahead of schedule (ATW Daily News, Oct. 12, 2011). The carrier, which will be based at Tokyo Narita (NRT), is on track to be the first LCC to fly on domestic routes from Tokyo.

It will initially serve five major Japanese cities—NRT, Osaka, Sapporo, Fukuoka and Okinawa—using three new Airbus A320s. Its fleet is expected to grow to 24 aircraft within the first few years. Short-haul international flights are expected to start in 2013.

Competitor AirAsia Japan, the joint venture between AirAsia and All Nippon Airways (ANA), will launch in August from NRT (ATW Daily News, Feb. 3). International services are scheduled to launch Oct. 1. From 2013, it plans to offer Airbus A330 services to Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.

Jetstar Japan is a partnership between the Qantas Group (QF), Japan Airlines and Mitsubishi Corp. Last year QF finalized a contract for 110 A320 family aircraft for QF subsidiary Jetstar Group in Australia and Singapore and Jetstar Japan (ATW Daily News, Oct. 7, 2011).

JetStar Group CEO Bruce Buchanan said past experience with Japan puts JetStar in a good position. “Serving the Japanese customer for the past five years with international services gives us a clear advantage in rolling out a domestic network,” Buchanan said.

Jetstar Japan CEO Miyuki Suzuki said the carrier was preparing for strong customer demand when fares to its first five destinations go on sale. “In a country that’s never had a true low fares domestic network, the ability to travel for an average of 50% less will open up new places and opportunities,” Suzuki said.