After speculation, the AirAsia group announced it will cease operations of its Japan-based subsidiary this fall.
Citing the adverse economic impact and travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AirAsia Japan will wind down operations and end its presence in the country on December 5. According to the airline, it has informed the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MOLIT) of the decision.
The Japanese-based arm of the AirAsia Group first suspended flight operations during the spring at the height of the pandemic. While flights were resumed in August, the numbers of passenger traffic remained low.
“Despite our unrelenting efforts to sustain operations through successive and wide-ranging cost reduction initiatives, we have concluded that it would be an extremely challenging feat for us to continue operating without any visibility and certainty of a post-pandemic recovery path,” said AirAsia Japan Representative Director and COO Jun Aida said in a statement.
Aida added: “I would like to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to our loyal guests and other stakeholders who have supported us all along. This painful decision to cease operations was decided neither in haste nor taken lightly. It was agreed upon after conducting a thorough business review.”
Aida and AirAsia further stated that the company's next steps will be made in accordance of local laws and regulations including the Japan Civil Aeronautics Act.
Incorporated in 2014, the decision ends a six-year old Japanese venture of AirAsia. Based at Chubu Centrair Airport near Nagoya, AirAsia Japan operated a fleet of 3 Airbus A320s to mostly domestic destinations. Along with its domestic flights, it also operated international services to South Korea and Taiwan in the past.
The decision to shut the carrier comes after reports surfaced in late September that the airline was planning to suspend select flights during October.
AirAsia Japan's decision will not affect the operations of the other group subsidiaries within the country.