Asia’s most booming airline is teaming up with one of its strugglers to hopefully produce profit: AirAsia Japan, a subsidiary owned by All Nippon Airways (ANA) will become the first low-cost carrier to fly out of Narita International Airport near Tokyo by August 2012.

The announcement was something of a surprise, since AirAsia X began flying out of Tokyo’s second international airport, Haneda, just this year and ANA also announced its own budget airline venture, Peach Aviation, in May. AirAsia X will continue to operate from Haneda for the foreseeable future, while Peach will be based at Kansai International Airport near Osaka and serve mainly the domestic market.

Even so, the move is an interesting one given the dramatic drop in tourist inflows to Japan after the March 11 disasters and a reluctance among Japanese to spend on luxuries like travel in the face of national hardship. Japan’s other major traditional carrier, Japan Airlines (JAL) has repeatedly flirted with bankruptcy over the past few years and home-grown domestic carriers have struggled to offer the kind of discounts seen in other countries, given Japan’s high landing fees and manpower costs.

AirAsia’s CEO Tony Fernandes remained confident his airline could do better, saying enhanced links in travel and tourism would boost economic ties between East and Southeast Asia and produce growth. ANA will hold a 67% share in AirAsia Japan, with plans to fly domestic routes and longer-haul services to South Korea and Taiwan.

source & article: news.com.au