ANA To Start Domestic LCC

Japan's All Nippon Airways' chief executive has told the Financial Times that the airline plans to launch two, separate low-cost international and domestic airlines by 2009. "In 2009 competition will increase and low-cost carriers, particularly from elsewhere in Asia, will start flying into Tokyo," said the CEO. "We have to be well prepared for it." The international routes would be inside Asia.

The possible main reason behind the launch: Tokyo's Haneda Airport will open a new runway in 2009, which is seen as a way to lower high landing fees.

This seems like a good move for ANA, which has picked up business from rival JAL after the latter suffered through a string of safety problems in the past few years. ANA is also facing increased pressure from other Japanese low-cost carriers. No word yet on what the new airline might be named.