Japan’s peachy summer of new budget airlines – train isn’t an option to Okinawa

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Japan has three new budget airlines in 2012.

Peach Aviation is part-owned by ANA, from its base in Osaka (KIX, a great airport code) it is already flying to Sapporo, Fukuoka, Nagasaki and Kagoshima. Seoul (Incheon) service starts May 8, Hong Kong starts July 1, Taipei (Taoyuan) starts September 30 and Okinawa (Naha) is TBD. Doesn’t Peach Aviation sound better than Peach Airways or Airlines?

Now boarding... Peach Aviation JA803P Airbus A320-200

Photo by Jun Seita

Air Asia Japan is also part-owned by ANA, will be based at Tokyo-Narita and serve Sapporo, Fukuoka, and Okinawa in August, with Busan and Seoul (Incheon) to follow in October. Air Asia X has existing service to Tokyo Haneda, not Tokyo Narita, so that will be interesting for unaware connecting passengers. Air Asia X also serves Osaka.

Jetstar Japan is a Qantas-JAL venture, launching July 3, also from Tokyo Narita, serving Sapporo, Osaka, Fukuoka and Okinawa.

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Photo by Jun Seita

The Economist has a pessimistic outlook on the trio, too many corporate master’s with other business they may be afraid to cannibalize.

With all this overlap travelers may benefit as these airlines and established competitors fight it out. Too bad for visitors to Toyko that none is using convenient Haneda.

Travelers should weigh flight options against Japan’s exquisite rail network, which is quite affordable for overseas visitors when utilizing rail passes. Sapporo is a long way by train from Tokyo, though, and even the shinkansen have not yet found a way to serve Okinawa.


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9 years ago

I flew Peach Aviation last month and was happy with the experience and price. There were at least 3 FA’s on my flight and I noticed that they were all attractive women in nice uniforms. Enough English was spoken to move my seat assignment, help when the check-in kiosk spat something out in Japanese, and chat with the FA after she noticed I didn’t speak Japanese.

There were a few other budget airline signs had more of a masculine advertising scheme in black and silvers, possibly to appeal to male business travelers.

Rapid Travel Chai
9 years ago
Reply to  reeder

@reeder – thanks for sharing your peachy experience.