New Asian Airlines Take Off

Asian aviation received a boost this week with the launch of operations for 2 new airlines in the region. Thai Airways subsidiary Thai Smile Air took off on its maiden flight to Macau this morning, while Jetstar Japan became the country’s latest low-cost carrier on Tuesday.


Thai Smile Air

Government officials, invited guests and media joined Thai Airways executives and passengers on the inaugural flight of new regional subsidiary Thai Smile Air this morning. The carrier will initially offer double-daily Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) – Macau flights, with domestic services to Chiang Mai, Krabi, Phuket and Surat Thani to follow.


Flight TG 750 takes off from Suvarnabhumi International Airport at 0745 hrs, arriving at Macau International Airport at 1130 hrs before returning as flight TG 751 at 1215 hrs, where it lands back in Bangkok at 1400 hrs. The afternoon service, TG 752, departs Bangkok at 1640 hrs and arrives in Macau at 2025 hrs, turning around to operate flight TG 753, taking off from Macau International Airport at 2115 hrs and landing back at Suvarnabhumi International Airport at 2300 hrs.


Thai Smile Air is flying the route with its newly-delivered Airbus A320 jet, configured with 12 (domestic) or 16 (international) seats in Smile Plus short-haul business class and 156 Smile economy class seats. In the former, passengers can look forward to the middle seat being kept unoccupied for more space and a complimentary hot meal service onboard, while a light snack and beverage will be available for the latter. Each flight will also offer a selection of food and beverages for purchase.


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Jetstar Japan

A joint venture between Qantas, Japan Airlines, Mitsubishi and Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation, Jetstar Japan commenced services on Tuesday 5 months ahead of schedule with expectations to boost domestic travel in Japan, which has been dominated by incumbents All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines until recently. The airline is moving fast to establish a foothold, beginning with multiple daily flights from its base in Tokyo (Narita) to Sapporo (New Chitose) and Fukuoka, followed by Okinawa and Osaka (Kansai). A further 2 routes connecting Osaka (Kansai) with Fukuoka and Sapporo (New Chitose) will be introduced from late August 2012.


On the busy Tokyo (Narita) – Sapporo (New Chitose) route, flight GK 111 departs the Japanese capital at 0820 hrs, arriving in Hokkaido at 1000 hrs and returning as flight GK 112, taking off from Sapporo at 1030 hrs and landing back in Tokyo at 1210 hrs. A second morning flight, GK 113, departs at 0935 hrs for a 1115 hrs arrival in Sapporo, turning around to fly back at 1145 hrs as flight GK 114 and landing in Tokyo (Narita) at 1325 hrs. In the afternoons, flight GK 115 takes off from Tokyo at 1610 hrs to land in Sapporo at 1750 hrs, while flight GK 116 is wheels up at 1840 hrs and touches down in Tokyo at 2020 hrs. The evening service, GK 117, departs Tokyo (Narita) at 1830 hrs, arriving in Sapporo (New Chitose) at 2010 hrs, before returning to Tokyo at 2040 hrs as flight GK 118, where it lands at 2220 hrs.


Jetstar Japan will initially operate a fleet of 3 Airbus A320s, expanding to 24 aircraft within the first few years to serve a domestic network that will supplement international flights from affiliates Jetstar and Jetstar Asia. The carrier follows Peach Aviation, a unit of All Nippon Airways, into the country’s low-cost travel market, where competition is expected to intensify next month with the arrival of rival carrier AirAsia Japan.


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