Budget Europe-Japan flights could be coming soon
Monday 21 February 2011
Japanese low-cost carrier Skymark could soon be offering cheap flights from Europe to Japan.
Last week, Airbus confirmed that the budget airline had ordered four of its enormous A380 "superjumbos", signalling a significant gear shift for a carrier which currently operates a fleet of relatively small Boeing 737s within Japan.
According to reports, the new A380s will be used to begin long-haul services between Tokyo and London, Paris and Frankfurt and will be introduced in 2014, potentially providing a cheaper alternative to flights between Japan and Europe currently operated by major airlines such as JAL, ANA, British Airways, Air France and Lufthansa.
Skymark will become the first budget airline and the first Japanese airline to fly the Airbus A380, which can carry up to 853 people in an all-economy class configuration and is currently in use with Air France, Emirates, Lufthansa, Qantas and Singapore Airlines.
The airline's president, Shinichi Nishikubo said that the new airplane would offer "passengers a unique and new experience of flying - more space, more comfort and a quieter cabin."
Skymark's international expansion plans were announced last December and are symptomatic of the low-cost airline boom currently sweeping through Asia.
Perhaps the most successful Asian low-cost, long-haul carrier is AirAsia X, which inaugurated its new service to Paris last week and already serves London from its base in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
It will launch its first flights to Christchurch, New Zealand on April 1 and is said to be eyeing routes to Russia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
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