Japan Airlines Establishes Japans First Medium to Long-Haul Low-Cost Carrier “ZIPAIR Tokyo”

Japan Airlines (JAL) has founded a new low cost airline with the name ZIPAIR Tokyo to operate medium as well as long haul flights from the summer of 2020 onward.

The carrier has filed for an air operator’s certificate using Boeing 787 Dreamliners and initially two destinations: Bangkok and Seoul-Incheon.

JAL’s competitor ANA already has a low cost carrier called PEACH in operation for many years and apparently the business model works quite well – no surprise there considering prices can be quite substantial ex Japan.

Japan Today (access here) had an article about this new business venture.

Japan Airlines has named its new low-cost carrier ZIPAIR, and said it will connect Narita airport near Tokyo with Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi and Incheon airport near Seoul next year, as demand for budget air travel grows in Asia.

The operator of the low-cost carrier (LCC) service offering medium to long-haul flights, ZIPAIR Tokyo, said it aimed to eventually offer trans-Pacific and European flights as well, and to turn profitable in two years after the maiden flight in summer 2020.

ZIPAIR plans to start operating with two Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners.

Japan Airlines, which operates the short-haul low-cost Jetstar Japan joint venture with Australia’s Qantas Airways , is setting up ZIPAIR to compete against domestic rival ANA Holdings Inc’s budget arm Peach.

Flying from Tokyo to Bangkok is a 6:30h journey so traveling on a budget carrier might be quite a stretch depending on how their cabin is set up and of course the seat pitch.

The official press release by Japan Airlines can be found here.

During a press conference held at Japan Airlines Headquarters on Friday afternoon, T.B.L. Co., Ltd. Representative Director and President, Shingo Nishida, announced the name of Japan`s first medium to long-haul low cost carrier as ZIPAIR. With the registration now official, the company will be established as ZIPAIR Tokyo Co., Ltd., as of March 8, 2019. As previously announced, the new carrier will prepare for launch during the summer schedule of 2020.

As a result of this announcement, T.B.L. Co., Ltd. will officially change its trade name to ZIPAIR Tokyo Co., Ltd. and has released the company`s logo as shown above.

About the Name
‘ZIPAIR Tokyo’ is a coined word derived from the English word ZIP, which describes speed, such as how fast time can pass when traveling on a unique airline. In addition, the brand name incorporates the idea of traveling to destinations in various ZIP CODES, while aiming to create a calculated travel experience that encompasses the originality and ingenuity of the Japanese culture. And finally, the word Tokyo was added to the name, as the airline will be based in one of the most advanced cities in the world.

Application for Air Transportation Business License
ZIPAIR Tokyo Co., Ltd. applied for an air operator’s certificate to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on March 8, under Article 100 of the Aviation law. The contents of the air operator’s certificate application include:

Aircraft: Boeing 787-8
Business Profile: To operate the following routes from the 2020 Summer Schedule
– Tokyo (Narita) = Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport
– Tokyo (Narita) = Seoul-Incheon International Airport

Recruitment of Personnel
Recruitment briefings will be held in April 2019. We are looking for employees full of spirit who will be active in a wide range of fields such as airport operations, planning services, as well as cabin crew, as opposed to the conventional recruitment style of filling a singular role in a corporation.

So JAL had previously founded a company under the name of T.B.L. Co., Ltd. to explore and prepare the first steps of establishing this new low cost airline.


In the next year or so we should see how ZIPAIR aircraft will be configured and how the cabin comfort should be as a result of that. I’ve previously taken JinAir between Japan (Osaka/Tokyo) and Seoul which was totally ok for the short duration of the flight (~ 2 hours). I’d not hesitate at all to fly this airline again and will likely do so next month.

For a long trip to South East Asia that takes about 6-7 hours I’d prefer using a full service carrier and preferably premium class if possible.