Low cost carrier JetStar Japan, a member of the Australian-owned JetStar group of companies, announced that it will be flying between Manila to three destinations in Japan—Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya—starting March.
JetStar Japan’s chairman Masaru Kataoka told reporters on the sidelines of the flights’ launch at the SMX Convention Center that traveler flow between Japan and the Philippines has been growing quite quickly, prompting the airline to launch Manila-Japan flights.
“There is a big potential in the tourist flow between Philippines and Japan,” Kataoka said.
According to Kataoka, Japan last year welcomed 230,000 Filipino visitors while the Philippines received 400,000 Japanese tourists. He said these numbers are expected to grow by more than 50 percent this year.
With Japan having eased visa restrictions to Filipinos, Kataoka said the airline is anticipating even more Filipinos would visit Japan.
Despite the Philippines’ burgeoning budget airline industry, Kataoka said it is still an opportune time to join the market.
“We offer the lowest fare in the market,” he said.
“Our services will also support the increasing number of Japanese tourists visiting the Philippines as it is a popular year-round destination with its wide selection of shopping, beaches, leisure activities, as well as its vibrant arts and entertainment scene,” he added, noting that the Japanese are always very impressed by the Filipinos’ warm hospitality.
Besides, competition makes any business flourish, he pointed out.
He said JetStar Japan is confident it can play the field well because their offered fare rates constantly change with the movement of their competitors’ prices.
“They [the customers] can choose where they buy the ticket. We offer the choice,” Kataoka said.
From mid-March, the new routes from Narita Airport in Tokyo and Chubu Airport in Nagoya to Manila will offer customers the choice of up to seven direct services a week from 15 March and 1 April respectively.
From 7 April, Jetstar Japan will introduce up to four new weekly services from Osaka – complementing the existing four weekly services schedule currently provided by sister airline, Jetstar Asia.
“Since 2004, Jetstar has built our reputation for providing low fares and making travel more affordable. We hold true to that commitment and this is what we are bringing with us with this latest international offering,” Kataoka said.
Kataoka said that eventually, JetStar Japan will look into launching flights to and from other destinations in the Philippines but, for this year, the airline will concentrate on growing the Manila to Japan flights.
Jetstar Japan is the largest low-cost carrier in Japan. The airline started flying in July 2012 to Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo, Fukuoka and Okinawa. Other domestic destinations currently include Nagoya, Oita, Kagoshima, Matsuyama, Takamatsu, and Kumamoto. In 2015, Jetstar Japan added Hong Kong as its first international destination, followed by Taipei.
To date, Jetstar Japan has served 12 million customers in just three years of operations. It currently has a fleet of 20 new Airbus A320s configured for 180 passengers.
Jetstar Japan is a joint venture between the Qantas Group, Japan Airlines, Mitsubishi Corporation and Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation. Jetstar Japan operates more than 100 flights a day to 17 domestic routes and 5 international routes.
Source: Maria Laura Angeles, http://www.manilatimes.net