Featured image: Noah Pitkin/Airways

7/03/2012: Jetstar Japan Commences Operations

DALLAS – Today, in 2012, low-cost carrier (LCC) Jetstar Japan (GK) commenced operations ahead of schedule.

The inaugural flight, operated by an Airbus A320, departed Tokyo Narita (NRT) bound for Sapporo, New Chitose Airport (CTS). Additional domestic routes followed to Fukuoka (FUK), Okinawa (OKA), and Osaka (KIX).

The airline wanted to capitalize on the booming Japanese domestic market, the fourth largest in the world. At the time of the launch, the airline’s CEO said the airline planned to operate 100 Airbus jets by the end of the decade.

Jetstar A321neo. Photo: Clement Alloing/Airways

“Starting from a Position of Strength”

Speaking at the time, Jetstar Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said: “Jetstar has been operating international flights into Japan from Australia and Singapore for the past five years, so this domestic operation is starting from a position of strength when it comes to consumer recognition and trust.”

Three 180-seat Airbus A320s were used to launch services initially. Today the carrier has 19 in service. It also has three A321LRs on order.

Jetstar Japan was announced on August 16, 2011, as a partnership between Qantas (QF), Japan Air Lines (JL), Mitsubishi Corporation, and Century Tokyo Leasing. It became the fifth carrier operating under the Jetstar Group, along with Jetstar Australia (JQ), Jetstar Pacific (BL), Jetstar Hong Kong (JM), and Jetstar Asia (3K).

The Jetstar Group new look for its A321LR fleet. Photo: Jetstar Japan

Firsts Milestones

The airline became the first LCC in Japan to enter codeshare agreements with mainline carriers, signing up with shareholders QF and JL and Oneworld alliance partner American Airlines (AA). This set the carrier apart from its rivals Peach (MM)) and Vanilla Air (JW), both owned by All Nippon Airways (NH)

In another first, GK commenced international flights on December 3, 2014, from KIX to Hong Kong (HKG). GK later added Taipei, Manila, and Shanghai to its network.

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