After years of Government oversight and restructuring after their 2010 bankruptcy, Japan Airlines is finally in growth mode. JAL has planes to add hundreds of destinations in the coming as the airline tries to retake the stage. There has been several discussions of 2020 being a year of massive growth for JAL and now, that talk may just become a reality. Japan Airlines has announced Japan’s very first medium to long haul low cost carrier, ZIPAIR Tokyo.
Japan Airlines low cost subsidy will be based at Tokyo Narita with the goal to connect passengers in long and medium haul markets to Japan. The new airline will be similar to other low cost operators in Asia, such as Singapore airlines’ Scoot or AirAsia X. Japan has seen an uptick of low cost carriers in recent years, and now JAL is jumping on the bandwagon to help secure their market share.
In the summer of 2020, ZIPAIR Tokyo will start operations. The first two routes will be between Tokyo Narita and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) and Seoul-Incheon (ICN). Flights will all be operated by 787-8 aircrafts. Expect ZIPAIR Tokyo to grow to destinations in North America, Australia, and Europe in the next decade.
Why ZIPAIR Tokyo
Everything is in a name and to me this name is very unexciting. Nothing about ZIPAIR Tokyo wants to make me fly to Tokyo. If anything, I think about zipping my zipper after urinating. However, per Japan Airlines, ZIPAIR Tokyo will want to make people fly. Afterall ZIP means quick…the entire point of air travel!
From the press release:
”ZIPAIR Tokyo’ is a coined word derived from the English word ZIP, which describes speed, such as how fast time can pass when traveling on a unique airline. In addition, the brand name incorporates the idea of traveling to destinations in various ZIP CODES, while aiming to create a calculated travel experience that encompasses the originality and ingenuity of the Japanese culture. And finally, the word Tokyo was added to the name, as the airline will be based in one of the most advanced cities in the world.”
I am still not buying it. Fast and zip codes? Sounds like a parcel shipment company to me. Watch out Fedex! I’m coming aboard!
Cheap flights and low-cost airlines are the in thing this decade. Many airlines are attempting to grow their market share through low-cost subsidiaries. Sometimes it’s successful, such as in Singapore’s Scoot and Lufthansa’s Germanwings. Yet other times, these ventures fail. Ask Air France about Joon or United about TED.
Low fares to Tokyo and beyond will be great, however not a game changer for me. It is still unknown how this airline will fit into the Japan Airlines brand and mileage program. Will it be a OneWorld Connect partner or completely separate? Time will tell and more details are to come. A new airline though does me a new experience and I will hopefully fly ZIPAIR Tokyo in the coming years…if it lasts.
What are your thoughts on ZIPAIR Tokyo? Are you excited for this? Or is this JAL’s end game?