You can soon fly within Japan on AirAsia

You can now fly to Nagoya (pictured) from Sapporo via AirAsia Japan. Source: amnat11/Shutterstock

AIRASIA JAPAN will operate its first flights out of Nagoya later this month after over two years since the company announced plans to enter the Japanese market with new partners. This means that you’ll get to fly twice daily between Nagoya and Sapporo from Oct 29 onwards.

Previously, AirAsia was meant to join forces with All Nippon Airways (ANA), but the project was shelved in 2013 and used as the basis for the launch of ANA subsidiary Vanilla Air.

The airline had received an air operator’s certificate in 2015 and had initially expected to start flying in the first half of 2016.

However, AirAsia Japan had been waiting until now for final regulatory approvals to launch in a market where it will rival ANA’s low-cost carriers Vanilla and Peach as well as the Jetstar Japan joint venture between Japan Airlines Co and Australia’s Qantas Airways Ltd.

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“It’s great to be back in Japan,” AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said in a statement. “It hasn’t been easy… many people thought we would give up and not bother but we owe it to the people of Japan and our staff to keep going.”

AirAsia owns 49 percent of the new AirAsia Japan, which has two Airbus SE A320 narrow body aircraft and will be based at Nagoya. The other partners include Rakuten Inc , Octave Japan Infrastructure Fund I GK, Noveir Holdings Co Ltd and Alpen Co Ltd.

AirAsia will compete against five other airlines on the route including Jetstar Japan, All Nippon Airways and Skymark Airlines.

Additional reporting by Reuters