* ANA to buy AirAsia out of joint LCC venture for $25.11
* Issues ranged from cost management to location of business
* ANA to decide unit's new name, business plan in July
* Merging operations under Peach brand is one option, ANA
TOKYO/KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 ANA Holdings Inc
will buy AirAsia Bhd out of a Japanese budget
airline joint venture for 2.45 billion yen ($25.11 million), the
Malaysian low-cost carrier said, dissolving a loss-making
alliance after less than two years.
The venture, based at Tokyo's main international airport in
Narita, has failed to win over Japanese travellers since it was
set up in August 2011. ANA, which owns 67 percent of the
venture, has blamed the poor performance of AirAsia Japan on
ineffective marketing and a user-unfriendly booking website.
Differences in opinion on issues ranging from cost
management to where the business should be based contributed to
the breakup, AirAsia said in a statement on Tuesday.
The split comes at a time when AirAsia is planning to expand
overseas. The pullout from the venture, however, is consistent
with AirAsia's past decisions to drop loss-making routes.
"I remain positive on the Japanese market and believe there
is tremendous opportunity for a low-cost carrier to succeed,"
AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said in the statement.
"We have not given up on the dream of changing air travel in
Japan and look forward to returning to the market," he added.
AirAsia Japan has been reporting losses since it began
operations with flights to five local destinations and two in
The venture cut ANA's operating profit by about 3.5 billion
yen in the year ended March, ANA's Senior Vice President Shinzo
Shimizu said on Tuesday.
"We judged it would be better to operate the carrier as a
wholly owned unit," Shimizu said at a press conference in Tokyo.
ANA has another budget joint venture Peach based out of
Osaka's Kansai airport.
Local rival Japan Airlines operates Jetstar Japan,
a joint venture with Qantas Airways that has bases in
both Narita and Kansai.
Shimizu said ANA will decide in July how to operate the
former AirAsia venture and will choose a name for the unit.
A possible merger with Peach was one option being
considered, he added.
The unit will use the AirAsia livery until November.
The termination of the venture involves the return of all
AirAsia aircraft leased to AirAsia Japan by Nov. 1, the
Malaysian budget airline said.
AirAsia Japan currently operates four Airbus A320s with a
fifth due to join the fleet shortly.
It will return some in September with the remainder to be
returned at the end of October, an ANA spokesman told Reuters.
The loss of some aircraft from September may result in
cancellations. ANA will offer flights using its own aircraft
where feasible, the spokesman said.
ANA will decide in July what aircraft it will use from
Its options are to lease other A320s or Boeing 737s, buy
second-hand jets, or re-configure its own aging A320s as a
bridging solution, the spokesman said.