Japan Airlines To Launch A New Low Cost Long Haul Carrier Called Zipair

Japan Airlines have confirmed the registration of their new long haul low cost carrier, with a scheduled launch date of summer 2020. President of JAL, Shingo Nishida, announced the name of the new entity as ‘ZIPAIR Tokyo’.

The new logo for ZIPAIR Tokyo. Image: Japan Airlines

The long awaited announcement of the new JAL carrier means the airline should be up and running in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. Launching in time for this event will enable JAL to stave off competition from the likes of Air Asia X and Scoot to grab their share of the budget market heading to Japan for the games.

As part of the announcement, Nishida unveiled the logo of the new airline and the branding which will go with it. The tones ‘Harmony Gray’ and ‘Trust Green’ have been picked, he says, to represent balance and satisfaction with the cost of services and to provide a sense of safety.

ZIPAIR corporate colours
The corporate colors for ZIPAIR

Japan Airlines have commented on the choice of name, saying that the ZIP part was chosen to describe speed, “such as how fast time can pass when traveling on a unique airline”. They say it also incorporates the idea of travelling to various ZIP codes. They chose to add the word Tokyo because “the airline will be based in one of the most advanced cities in the world”.

Despite having a similar name, the new airline is nothing to do with Zip, a short lived low cost carrier launched by Air Canada in 2002.

Aircraft and routes for ZIPAIR

At launch, ZIPAIR will have a fleet of just two Boeing 787-8s. JAL have applied for an AOC under Article 100 of Aviation Law to operate these two aircraft on routes to Bangkok and Seoul from Summer 2020. However, it’s likely that both routes and fleet will grow rapidly once the airline is up and running.

JAL 787-8
JAL will use two 787-8s for ZIPAIR. CC Image courtesy of Byeangel on Flickr

Nishida has confirmed that the company plan to add two Boeing 787-8s to the fleet each year, and that they are considering adding routes to Europe and North America in the future. Speaking at the announcement, he said:

We aim to cross the Pacific Ocean (in the near future)

He commented on how few low cost airlines currently provide service on trans-Pacific routes. LCCs currently make up around 10% of domestic flights in Japan, and it is expected this will rise to around 30% over the next decade.

The Japanese government has set a target to increase tourism to 40m visitors per year by 2020 and to 60m by 2030. Having a low cost means of getting to Japan is a massive step in the right direction.

Although the service is unlikely to come with the Michelin meals of the parent company’s premium cabins, it’s clear they’re keen to establish a standard of quality that is befitting of a subsidy of JAL. Their new website states that what they are aiming for is, “an unprecedented airline that combines service quality and ultimate cost value that matches the current era”.

The company has already begun its recruitment drive, launching a website for applicants just a few hours ago. Simple Flying are eager to see where this new venture takes JAL and how the low cost long haul operation works for them.