The first flight of Jetstar Japan Co., a budget airline funded by Japan Airlines Co., took off Tuesday from Narita International Airport bound for New Chitose Airport near Sapporo.
With the launch, Jetstar became the second discount airline to serve domestic routes in Japan, following the Osaka Prefecture-based Peach Aviation Ltd., a budget carrier owned partly by All Nippon Airways Co. The move appears to set the stage for a full-fledged price war between discount carriers across Japan.
Starting with the launch of Narita-New Chitose and Narita-Fukuoka routes on Tuesday, Jetstar next week will fly between Narita and Kansai International Airport in Osaka and between Narita and Naha Airport in Okinawa Prefecture. On Aug. 24, it will start services connecting Kansai International with New Chitose and with Fukuoka.
Jetstar Japan has said it may grow its fleet to 100 planes by the end of the decade as it lures travelers with fares less than half those charged by JAL and All Nippon Airways Co., the nation's two biggest airlines. Besides Peach Aviation, AirAsia Japan Co. is starting budget flights in Japan this year following the addition of new capacity at Narita.