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DAY 15

DAY 15

WHY JAPAN FLIES AIRBUS

Japan’s airlines grow with the Airbus family

October 2013: the moment when Japan Airlines announced a $9.75bn purchase agreement for 31 A350 XWBs, marking the first Asian order of the jetliner, and the first Airbus purchase by Japan’s national flag carrier.

Japan has long been an important market for Airbus, with orders dating back to 1987. However, in the past decade, it is the growth of Low Cost Carriers (LCCs) that has brought much more competition to Japanese aviation, resulting in airlines opening up new routes, and crucially new opportunities for travellers.

Air travel deregulation in the first administration of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saw a business once dominated by a small number of large, full-service carriers open up to new players such as Peach Aviation and Jetstar Japan, who brought something different to the market.

But it wasn’t just regulatory reform that powered this shift – it was the A320. These new carriers quickly realised that the A320 family, with its low operating cost, provided the ideal aircraft for fleets targeting customers at a lower price point.

In fact, just seven years after they were first founded, LCCs now account for 10% of all domestic flights in Japan, with LCC fleets in Japan made up of over 95% Airbus jets.

Today, Airbus and the A320 is playing an increasingly important role in opening up both market competition and new domestic and international routes from Japanese airports.

It was Peach that started the trend, ordering a fleet of 10 A320s in 2011, which saw Airbus’ market share in Japan grow significantly to the 20%, and rising, it commands in 2019.

Today, almost half of all new aircraft on order for future delivery to carriers in Japan are for Airbus products. With orders coming in thick and fast, the future of Japanese air travel looks incredibly exciting.


Today, almost half of all new aircraft on order for future delivery to carriers in Japan are for Airbus products.

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