JAL Business Aviation, a new joint venture between Japan Airlines (JAL) and Marubeni Aerospace, is on track for launch this spring, the company told AIN. It will not own an aircraft fleet, but rather will mainly provide logistical support for business jet operators, including arranging charter flights, managing aircraft, and aircraft handling. Initial operations will focus on the Tokyo area, but will eventually expand to other Japanese cities.
The airline announced the joint venture last month, investing $150 million for a 51 percent share. Marubeni—which provides business aircraft charter, management, and sales, and is also the Honda Aircraft Japan dealer—owns the remainder. JAL’s Kiyoshi Iwaki and Marubeni’s Ryusuke Konto will co-manage the company.
JAL Business Aviation also aims to improve the country’s business aviation infrastructure and change the public’s perception of this segment. “There are limited infrastructure and various restrictions still in place for the Japanese business jet aviation market,” a JAL spokesperson said. “It is still a very regulated industry and we hope that there will be some deregulation in the coming years. Also, we need to change the public's perception to view these services as a business tool and not just a luxury."
But, he added, “The Japanese market is inexperienced in using business jets when compared to other economically advanced countries. Thus, there is a potential for future growth in this unique market.”