Budget airline Zipair starts Tokyo-Seoul passenger service despite pandemic


Japanese budget airline Zipair Tokyo Inc launched passenger services Friday with its first flights between Tokyo and Seoul, commencing operations after a delay of some five months due to the novel coronavirus pandemic which forced the company to switch to moving cargo.

The twice-weekly passenger flights operated by the Japan Airlines Co subsidiary between Narita airport, east of Tokyo, and Incheon International Airport near Seoul also came as business travel between Japan and South Korea resumed last week.

The airline plans to make three round-trip flights per week from Oct 25 when the winter schedule begins.

Only two travelers were aboard a 290-seat Boing 787-8 aircraft that left for South Korea Friday morning in the airline's first-ever passenger flight while concerns about the novel virus spread continue to put the brakes on demand for air travel.

The low-cost carrier initially planned to start its passenger service between Narita and Bangkok in May, adding Seoul in July.

Instead, Zipair launched commercial operations in June with its passenger jets carrying only cargo to the Thai capital, and to Seoul from September.

While global travel demand remains depressed, the new budget airline hopes by starting to operate on the Tokyo-Seoul route its reputation will quickly grow.

It plans to add destinations in future including flights between Narita and Honolulu in Hawaii, a very popular destination for Japanese tourists.

Noting the company will aim in the long run to extend its services to North America, Shingo Nishida, the company president, told reporters, "We will establish reliable and safe operations so as to become the first low-cost carrier to fly across the Pacific Ocean" from Japan.


©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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I hope it does well. But the timing of its launch could not have been worse, it must be said.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So, it is bleeding money from the first takeoff!

Not a good business model!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Bad timing, but maybe they had no choice. On the bright side, of they can survive in this environment, they will certainly thrive when things get better.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Not a good business model!

That doesn't matter. It was decided months ago.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Bad timing, but maybe they had no choice.

Did you read the article? It's JAL subsidary. Essentially a nationalized company. Of course they had a choice.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Budget is in the survival game. And any economy class is a business class these days.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Tourism is basically zero so other than ‘our taxes’ or zero interest bank loans, how can this loss making business survive?

This is no more than theft which has no penalty as Zipair will continue sucking money in and accumulating bad debts which will be written off in a bankruptcy filing, sometime next year.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And this on the same day that there’s also an article on opinions of South Koreans on Japanese being at a record low

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The good news is, they can put 40 tons of cargo on the 787.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I’ve seen many Japanese companies move forward with bad business deals because once senior management signs off, almost nothing on earth can reverse that decision. I’m guessing that this is the case here, and probably a few futile attempts were made by middle management but were shot down.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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