Japan Airline's (JAL) new low cost airline venture ZIPAIR Tokyo has been granted its air transport business license by the Japanese government, paving the way the airline to begin operations in 2020.
The airline also revealed its initial plans with the first two routes from Tokyo-Narita with two separate daily flights each to Bangkok and Seoul. ZIPAIR expects to begin its Narita-Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) flights on May 14, 2020, followed by Seoul-Incheon the following month on July 1, 2020.
The budget airline will start with an initial fleet of Boeing 787-8s that will come from JAL. The 787s will be fitted with a higher density configuration with 290 seats compared to JAL's typical configuration of 186 seats.
ZIPAIR Tokyo was announced by Japan Airlines as its new budget carrier subsidiary in February 2019 as a response to local and foreign low cost airlines expanding their presences in Japan. With initial plans for serving regional cities such as Bangkok and Seoul, JAL intends to expand ZIPAIR's route network to long-haul destinations.
The new budget airline is not JAL's first experience with a budget airline. JAL also has a 33% stake in Narita-based low cost airline Jetstar Japan, which has a route network of destinations in Japan and the Asia/Pacific.