JAL enters Asia’s crowded budget airline market


TOKYO • Asia, where more than a dozen new low-fare carriers started in the past two decades, got a new entrant in Japan Airlines Co (JAL).

Japan’s second-largest carrier is deepening its bet in the market for frills-free air travel by setting up a carrier in July for medium-to-longhaul international flights from Narita International Airport, which serves Tokyo.

The yet-to-be named carrier will start operating two Boeing Co 787-8 aircraft, JAL said in a statement on its website yesterday.

JAL — already a shareholder in low-fare carrier Jetstar Japan Co — is targeting a larger slice of the budget-air travel market, which has been slow to take off in Japan relative to other parts of Asia.

As visitors to Japan surged, low-fare carriers such as AirAsia Bhd, Jetstar Japan and Peach Aviation Ltd began offering more services to compete against full-service operators JAL and ANA Holdings Inc, as well as Shinkansen bullet trains.

Meanwhile, Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise will start serving Manchester in northern England from December, adding a second UK destination months before Britain is due to quit the European Union and 45 years after the carrier began flying to London Heathrow.

The service from Addis Ababa will operate four times weekly using a Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet in a two-class layout, initially as an extension of the carrier’s existing Brussels route, Ethiopian Air said in a statement yesterday.