Japanese take to the sky with low-cost flights

The Japanese, who are known to have a penchant for luxury, are now welcoming cheap flights to their nation.

Three low-cost airlines have started operating in the country and are offering different flight options for customers who are yet to grasp the concept of low-cost airlines. AirAsia Japan, Peach Aviation and Jetstar Japan have started offering services, and it is expected that the move could change the lifestyles of citizens in the country. It is expected that the cheap flights will encourage more travel among the Japanese and break their habit of confining air travel to business trips. Luxury vacations to popular destinations are also expected to become more popular with the Japanese, owing to the availability of cheap flights.

Flight prices in the nation have dropped by more than half, and flying is likely to become a more casual means of travel in the country. The Japanese are expected to use the air routes more for weekend dining, meeting with friends and other casual trips, which has not previously been the case. Figures show that ticket prices have dropped by about half, to JPY16,000 ($200), to the south-western resort island of Okinawa, or JPY5,000 to Seoul. The cheap airlines are also expected to effect a change of attitude in the Japanese with regard to their life styles, as they could be prompted to move away from regular leisure activities and may even be encouraged to be less work oriented.

There are also hopes that the advent of cheap flights could revitalise Japan’s JPY3tn aviation market, the tremendous potential of which is believed to be mostly untapped. Cheap flights are prospering thanks to airports such as Tokyo’s, Haneda and Narita, which have opened up more landing slots. Observers feel that the cheap prices offered by airlines could compensate the critical Japanese for shortcomings compared to more luxurious flights.

Even with the shortcomings, carriers are reportedly doing well, and figures indicate that during the Obon holidays, domestic flights at Peach Aviation were 94 percent full. While AirAsia Japan reported 91 percent occupancy, and Jetstar Japan was 89 percent full.