AirAsia has ceased operations in Japan after COVID-19 slashed travel on the low-cost joint venture.
The current incarnation of AirAsia Japan was incorporated in 2014 and had been operating domestic and international flights from its base at Chubu Centrair International Airport.
AirAsia said coronavirus travel restrictions and the associated uncertainties had severely curtailed demand and resulted in flight reductions, cancellations and aircraft groundings that “weighed heavily on the company’s ability to continue operating”.
The airline confirmed it was ceasing operations from October 5 and Japanese media reported it was the first airline in Japan to close its business due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Despite our unrelenting efforts to sustain operations through successive and wide-ranging cost reduction initiatives, we have concluded that it would be an extremely challenging feat for us to continue operating without any visibility and certainty of a post-pandemic recovery path,’’ Air Asia Japan chief operating officer Jun Aida said.
“I would like to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to our loyal guests and other stakeholders who have supported us all along. This painful decision to cease operations was decided neither in haste nor taken lightly. It was agreed upon after conducting a thorough business review.
“Further steps to this decision will be made in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations including the Japan Civil Aeronautics Act.
“We have canceled all flights. All affected guests will be contacted via email with further information within the next seven days.”
The decision affects flights operated by AirAsia Japan but not flights into and out of Japan by other members of the AirAsia Group.
The group said international services to Japan, from Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines would resume in the future after travel restrictions were lifted and borders with Japan are reopened.