Japan Airlines’ low-cost carrier has been granted its Air Operator’s certificate from Japan’s Transport Ministry. The announcement was made in a Zipair Tokyo press release on July 5. It comes just four months after the airline announced its official registration and unveiled its new livery.
According to Flight Global, the JAL subsidiary will begin flights between Narita International Airport and Bangkok from May 14, 2020. From July 1, it hopes to service a route between Narita and Seoul.
The carrier will operate a daily return service using two Boeing 787-8s. The aircraft have been seconded from JAL and have been reconfigured to a high-density format, providing space for 290 seats. The normal configuration for a B787-8 is 186 seats.
Documents provided by the Japanese ministry state that the carrier has US$45.9 million in capital and plans to increase this to US$185 million by the time operations begin.
Zipair will be the only budget carrier servicing the Bangkok route, but will face stiff competition from the five South Korean LCC, although according to Zipair’s president Shingo Nishida, the biggest challenge will be with Japan’s budget airline Peach Aviation, which is the domestic division of ANA.
Nishida has made it clear that the goal of Zipair is to eventually offer trans-Pacific and European flights as well, as there is a gap in the market where Japanese LCC do not serve these routes effectively.