MIAMI – In anticipation of an increase in travel between China and Japan, Spring Airlines Japan will become a subsidiary of JAL (JL).

Although JL originally had a stake of only 5% in Spring Airlines Japan, it plans to increase its stake to at least 50%. 

Spring Airlines Japan is the brand subsidiary of Spring Airlines, a well known low-cost carrier in China.

The parent airline operates a large fleet of over 100 Airbus A320 family aircraft, while Spring Airlines Japan operates just six Boeing 737-800s.

JAL plans to take advantage of Spring Airlines’ brand recognition in China to attract inbound passengers to Japan.

In addition, JAL will be adding routes connecting Tokyo to so-called ‘white spots’ in China. Cities with a population of over 10 million will be targeted for the new routes.

Spring Airlines Japan, along with JAL’s other low cost carrier subsidiary, Jetstar Japan, will continue to hold hubs at Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT). 

Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways

The Low-Cost, High-Competition Market

In recent years, Japan’s Low-cost carrier market has been growing increasingly competitive, with ANA and JAL focusing on the new battleground market. 

ANA merged its two LCC subsidiaries, Vanilla Air and Peach Aviation, creating a strong domestic airline based in Osaka and Tokyo.

In response, JAL invested further in Jetstar Japan, a joint venture between Qantas and JAL, and has now increased its stake in Spring Airlines Japan. 

Jetstar Japan and Spring Airlines Japan’s ability to compete with Peach Aviation will be tested in the coming years. 

In preparation for the Olympics set to take place in Tokyo, JAL announced plans for their new long haul, low cost airline, ZIPAIR Tokyo. 

However, the plans were changed quickly after the emergence of COVID-19. The new airline began cargo-only flights using Boeing 787-8s to Seoul and Bangkok, the airline’s planned passenger destinations.

ZIPAIR Tokyo plans to create low-yield demand from the US West Coast, Hawaii and South Asia. 

The airline will have a fleet of 10 Boeing 787s by the end of fiscal year 2024.  

Featured Image: Christian Winter/Airways