05 August 2008

Yokoso Japan!

Azran

By Azran

Senthil, Shuba and I just got back from Tokyo, after spending a few days meeting Japanese government officials and airport representatives. We were checking out the scene there to assess the prospect of AirAsia X flying to Japan in the near future. Love to hear your views on Japan as a destination.

The last time I visited Japan was six years ago. There’s definitely a feeling of more openness towards foreign visitors. The Japanese government is now aggressively trying to catch up with other Asian countries to grow their tourism sector, and they’ve come up with their Yokoso Japan! (Welcome to Japan) campaign to attract tourists. They have a long way to go to catch up with advanced tourist Markets such as Australia, Thailand, Malaysia and even neighbours Korea.

One thing that struck me about this trip was the mis-perception that Japan (and Tokyo specifically) is a very expensive destination. I found plenty of options for hotel rooms, ground transportation and food choices at prices below Hong Kong and Sydney. There are also a lot of guidebooks and maps in English that made using the bus and subway system easy to use for us gai-jins.

Japan has a lot of unique selling points: Tokyo is clearly the fashion capital of Asia – shopping in Ginza is overwhelming. Electronic gadget lovers will find Akihabara a paradise. The electronic stores there make Low Yatt look like a tiny corner stall! And this is home to anime – from Pokemon to Dragon Ballz to Haruhi Suzumiya! There’s also Tokyo Disneyland and the ancient Shogun palaces and castles that will send you back in time to the Tokugawa era (like Hiro from Heroes!).

My clear favourite: this tiny little restaurant in Tsukiji, the main fish market in Tokyo where tons of tuna and other seafood are trucked in the wee hours of the morning and auctioned off to the top restaurants in the city. The sashimi was simply phenomenal!

Let’s hope that the Japanese airports respond positively to our proposal. Its time to liberate travel to Japan from the tyranny of high fares from the legacy airlines!

  • Azran

    Sadly no, regulations have not changed. Its still a pain to get a visa.

    That’s why I stirred up the issue in the press a few weeks ago.

    Japan needs to realise that it has to compete aggressively for tourists against other markets like Korea, Australia, India, Thailand, Singapore etc that are all strong marketers and have more friendly visa/entry requirements.

  • Muhammad Faidzal

    Japan is a cool place. Been there twice. The last one was about 10 years ago. Going there was fun. Getting visa to go there not so. Especially if you plan the travel on your own without the help from any travel agencies. I even had to ask my friend who was residing in Japan to write me an invitation letter. I do not know if the regulations have changed.

  • Chooi Peng

    Japan is great and it is cheaper than HK. i always telling my friend about it but they thought i am cheating them. :)

  • Nirav

    I reckon it will be great if we have Air Asia provide value flights as they have been at other destinations across South Asia to go to Japan and if possible, even India!!

  • Chang Pong

    I’ve always wanted to do Japan. As Azran pointed out that it’s a “mis-conception that Japan is expensive”, I have never put the plan into motion. Here’s hoping that AirAsiaX flies to Tokyo. I’d be the first one to hop on board.

  • Jeremy

    AirAsia X has been doing a great job and never disappoint Malaysians. Being one of its proud passengers on board its maiden flight to Gold Coast (…by the way Mr. Azran, it’s so nice of you to walk around the cabin frequently throughout the flight making sure passengers are well), I believe AirAsia X will bring more good news to us. Japan is another great destination choice and let’s hope AirAsia X flies to Tokyo. I’ll be the first to fly on its maiden flight!

  • Azran

    Many thanks for your support. Japan is a key market that we’re focused on, and we’re very keen to fly to an airport that will serve the Tokyo Metropolitan area.

    Wish us luck with the usual battle to secure approvals and airport terms that will allow us to offer low fares.

  • Tony

    Good luck!
    Tony

  • Ong

    AirAsia X can fly to tokyo?

  • Indrawati

    AirAsia always step ahead and try to find the niche market.
    It’s good that Mr. Azran can give brief knowledge about the country and tips. It’s oso one of the AirAsia benefit as it give us tips and knowledge about the place we want to visit.
    it’s great and can’t wait for the next destination… JAPAN!

  • Mohammed Faisal

    Japan is always a great place to explore.. Been there twice, and hope to visit again soon. When will AirAsiaX flies to Japan? Please don’t just go to Tokyo, there are other great places like Kyoto & Sapporo.

    I went to Hakone & Aishi Lake sometime last year, aaa.. yup! It is in February 2007. A beautiful place to visit with great people & historical value.

    For those who plan to go, pray a lot for AAX to get the route.

  • Koon Peng

    Since you wanted our views on Japan, allow me to say that I’ve been holding back my Japanese vacation (Tokyo & Kyoto) until a low cost airline flies there from KL. So, all the best in securing those approvals. Waiting to take my Japanese vacation on board AAX.

  • Wan Fong

    I really hope that AAX can fly to Japan one day. Despite fierce competition from the “copy cats” and the “Juara Kampung”, I still believe in the LCC model. I went to Osaka in 2007 by myself (female) while I was in between jobs. Since I had no employer, I had to provide the Embassy with everything! eg: Justification letter why I wanted to go Japan alone, proofing my financial positions, proof of funds and method to fund my expenses while in Japan, confirmed hostel booking and air ticket, insurance, contact details etc.

    Nevertheless, it was a worth while trip. Knowing some key words in Japanese would definitely help. I am really sad to hear that AXX flights to JP are on hold/ delayed. I hope that the approval goes through one day.

    Tony, Azran – DO NOT stop trying!
    I support AAX and really wish more Malaysians can afford to see the world and open our horizon! Let’s go to places that even FSC does not fly direct. eg: KL-Hokkaido, KL-Cheju, KL-Tasmania.

  • Krshna

    Good luck.
    I am looking forward to hearing good news.

  • Chia Hiang

    Dear Tony & Azran,

    You will have my support. I look forward to visit Japan by AXX. All the best!

  • Jo Hann

    My wife is from Hokkaido and since we were married 6 years ago, we discovered that there are quite a number of Malaysians married to Japanese. As for us being ordinary income earners, flying to Japan to visit my in laws have been truly a “pain in the pocket”! fares go as high as RM3000 to RM4000. Cheap promotional fares are usually offered for not more than 2 weeks so it has been difficult for my wife & I to visit her family for longer periods.

    AirAsia’s plans to fly to Japan is definately a welcome move for us! BUT yes visas are sometimes difficult even for me being married to a Japanese, have to submit all kinds of documents like letter from employer, invitation letter from wife’s family, submit issued ticket, marriage certificate, and officially they even ask for income tax documents to ascertain income levels, and finally they issued a visa with the exact number of days as the issued ticket duration! No wonder Japan is not really a tourist destination among Asian markets!

    BUT its quite unfortunately because Japan is really quite an interesting place to visit especially for the real authentic fresh sushi in Hokkaido!! And there are actually cheap accomodations in youth hostels, traditional ryokan hotels, and cheap business inns (lowest we got was Yen6,000 or RM 200 for 2 pax a night!) in Tokyo!

    Besides that, Japan has lots for us Malaysians to learn from, their dignity in doing their work, clean streets, and on time public transportation!

    So AirAsia go for it, fly to Japan, help bridge the cultural divide especially for Malaysian-Japanese intermarriages like ours!!! congratulations AirAsia!!

  • Azran

    Thanks Jo Hann,

    These are the very reasons that drive us to get up every morning and push to expand the ‘AirAsia’ service globally.

    On a lighter note, you’re sure you want us to fly to Japan? Then you’ll run out of excuses when your in-laws ask that you visit them! Careful what you ask for! hahaha.

    I’m planning to take the family skiing at Niseko this winter – first time there. Any tips?

  • Karen

    Saw in the news last night that this is becoming a reality in 2009. GREAT! Did my first maiden trip last month to Tokyo and it’s true about the things we can learn about the Japanese. Manners, civic consciousness, respect for other people’s property and recycling to keep the planet green. I agree it’s not as expensive as everyone makes it out to be. I also had a very easy, good experience applying for the visa on my own. Look forward to the service in 2009 :o)

  • Jo Hann

    Niseko is a famous destination both for locally and foreign tourist especially for the mountain views and skiing. You probably fly to chitose (sapporo) and then take a bus 2 hours ride there..it seems there is a lake..probably frozen in winter.

    It seems there is a local famous “sandwich” shop..huge, with stuff like ham, salad, etc…and apparently popular with locals…cost about Y1000 (RM30)…..according to my wife! I have not been there myself…he he.

    Hey there is a “Ninja museum” in Date city before Niseko..the name of the musuem is “Da-te Jida-i mura”..this is a great place, lots of action…big compound with small theatres, stalls and old traditional japanese village, especially interesting is the ninja show with live actors on stage action packed!! ninja style..cost about Yen3000 per head for free entrance to all theatres and stuff, otherwise you would have to buy tickets for each place in the compound. we enjoyed thoroughly!!

    On the way to Niseko, there is also an interesting museum called the “Shiraoi Ainu Museum” in Shiraoi area, its set in traditional indigenous Ainu people style, with lots of souvenir shops and performances next to lake.

    Hope this helps…by the way when will AirAsia fly to hokkaido..we are all excited!!!

  • Flanegan

    I’m so excited when i heard about this.
    Since your rival have a weekly flight from Kota Kinabalu to Tokyo.
    Why don’t you guys make one too?
    I bet lots of the Sabahan Japanese and Japanese Expatriats are so excited about it.

    As for me, After graduate i’ll be able to go back and forth maybe twice a year to Tokyo just to continue my photography project in Tokyo.

    I’m so excited now..

  • Takeshi

    waa talking abt my home hokkaido!
    yes pls fly 2 sapporo ;) am a old AirAsia fan since launched n it finally fly 2 japan!
    terima kasih AirAsia..oh.. don forget outdoor hot springs in niseko area

  • James

    What about Korea? When will Koreans have the opportunity to save money by flying AirAsia?

  • Azran

    Korea’s definitely on our radar screens as well.

  • Kok Hong

    I have always been in touch with news regarding Air Asia ever since they’ve come up with the idea of flying to Japan.

    Well I am not sure what has happened lately but the last time I heard about this plan was the fact that Mr. Tony said that the plan has been cancelled? because it is difficult for Malaysians to get a visa to visit Japan.

    Well, personally I am a university student in Kyushu. Going home (KL) has always been a nightmare because it has been really inconvenient ever since MAS stopped flying directly to Fukuoka.

    Another issue is the price to fly home. I can pay the same amount to go to Canada or US from here instead of flying home. Unbelievable isn’t it?

    Well my point is, there are many Malaysian students in Japan, perhaps well over 200 to 300 students enter a Japanese university annually. And a different figure goes to local Technical Colleges and Japanese Language schools.

    From here, the targeted customers may (or may not) be just Malaysian tourists, but also the students from Malaysia who are in Japan. I’m sure their parents would want to visit their kids too because I know my family and friend does.

    It would be great if AAX flew here. My Japanese friends are looking forward to visiting SEA too, but the price of an air ticket is way above their budget and somewhat given up the plan.

    I hope things will work out. I am looking forward to see the little red plane landing on this volcanic island soon.

    And if it is really impossible to get to Japan, there is always its neighbour, Korea. Most Japanese domestic (somewhat international) airports have direct flights to Incheon.

    Good Luck!

  • Chin Yieng

    Japan Japan Japan all the way, please please please!!
    I’ve been to japan – mainly tokyo twice, and I wish I can go there for leisure, on regular basis
    Destination wish list – sappora, osaka,and TOKYO!!!

  • Tan

    Dear Azran,
    I do hope to hear good news for the launching of AIR ASIA – JAPAN route. I am preparing my wedding ceremony with my Japanese hubby next year (2009) September, with my all my family members flying together with me :) Really hope to save some budget on flights fare :)

    Do keep me inform on any updates :) Wish you luck, as wish me luck too !!

    To Dato’ Tony, Thanks for given us HOPES & JOYFULNESS!! Now, Everyone Can FLY liao~

  • Amirah Kausar

    i was lining up checking in at LCCT 10 Dec nite [2008] when i saw the ever-smiling gentleman, none other than Azran with a team of smartly dressed people most likely are Japanese. And they were sort of discussing some serious stuffs. Then i realised … My gosh !!! this is it … Yokoso Japan !!!it’s gonna be true … so guys out there, hang on, Japan is indeed on its way … yeay .. yeay ..

  • Afarina

    Dear Azran,
    I love japan & the idea of AAX flying there is very exciting.I was with sia for 3yrs & japan was definitely my most awaiting duties in my roster.Japan is reasonable & i even went for honeymoon there in 2007.ppl were asking of all places why japan?well guess u have to see it to believe it. we even get cheaper hotel near shinjuku train station in tokyo for <10k yen.nagoya is a must route cz travellers can extend their journey to kyoto for <2hrs train ride.even for food is not an issue for muslim cz we opt for seafood-sushi, tempura, hot/cold soba.i love trying their food but again i limit myself to seafood.
    please make it happen AA so that me & hubby can re-visit japan.

  • Hafiz

    to the air asia team..i strongly support you guys all the way..making flying more affordable to everyone. japan is a nice destination..well much more for a motor sports enthusiast like me..its a heaven thee in japan..well how d i get in contact with the air asia promotions team as i have an interesting proposal to share with you guys..something special…heheheeh

  • Jenny

    When oh When ?? Please fly ASAP to Japan especially Tokyo (ex-Haneda would be FABulous) !! I’m living in Kawasaki with my Jap hubby. My mum is alone & 71,we,the family would love to visit her often, But imagine the cost of 2 adults and 2 kids !!If you do fly there we swear to be your loyal patrons and my kids will be thanking you 10 years down the road for their Education Fund !! And good news AAX, there are lots of intermarriages between Malaysians and Japanese fyi we have less or no hassle on visas.

  • Mohd Lutiff

    dear Azran,
    i’m happy that A.A.X is launching their flight to japan end of 2009, as always says A.A.X always put a “Smile On My Face” when i heard their progress! Gambatte Kudasai!

    as i have this problem to enquirer from u, i’m planning to go to Fukuoka, by 1st Sept09 & stay until 20th Sept09, to visit my friend staying at Chuo-ku, Fukuoka-city, use MAS airlines,

    is it, i still have to apply VISA? at JPN Embassy? or just passport will do? How much will it cost for the VISA? actually VISA is for what? mind if i u explain in details to me?

    tq

  • Azran

    Dear All,

    Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. We remain very keen on the Japanese market. However, we have not made much progress with Japanese airports, particularly to get reasonable charges that would allow us to offer lower fares.

    I’m doubtful that we can start a service to Japan this year. Its looking more like next year.

    For Japanese visa information, please check out
    http://www.my.emb-japan.go.jp/English/visit.htm

    We were able to influence some relaxation of the rules to aid online ticket purchases. You don’t need to show your confirmed flight and hotel itinerary now, but you still need to apply for visa from the embassy.

    Best,
    azran

  • Amirah Kausar

    I really hope AA can fly Japan .. none would offer air fare as low as you do .. the faster, the better ..

  • Kalai

    koniciwa(hello) tony & azran.I am looking forward to hear that good news.all the best!You will have my support.agree with the comment,’none would offer air fare as low as you do. love your airline:p gambateh!!!!!

  • Cy Kuan

    Dear Azran / Tony,

    I am a new convert of the brand after being spoilt by years of corporate travel perks. I want to just say that you guys have done a fantastic job in migrating from model to execution, and I am excited to see what else is in the pipeline!

    Azran, I read with concern that you have found it difficult to work with the Japanese airport authorities. I have had some experience working with the Japanese in the past in the capacity of a procurement/supply chain guy, and in cases where the relationship was slightly more mature and where the other party had a similar desire to make it work, we found that we could arrive at a solution by helping to understand cost levers on the Japanese end, and passing on suggestions to achieve lower costs.
    Most of the time, we found them very open to the idea of approaching a deal that way as it not only helped us, but it made them better businesses themselves and tee-ed themselves well for opportunities with similar Asian customers for the future.

  • Sapuan

    Hi Azran,

    I pun concern jugak that you have found it difficult to work with the Japanese airport authorities.

    I think you’re talking to big guy like NRT, KIX, NGO etc. Even MAS pun lari from KUL-NRT-LA to pakai Taipei.

    Untuk mengenal hati budi mereka, maybe you could just start with niche market like Hokkaido during winter. MAS & SIA have a lot of charter flight during winter. Or, if you could get Korea, then maybe can target Niigata airport in northwest Japan.

  • Amirah Kausar

    wowww .. i’m really glad so many expressed views in making Japan a reality … this shows our strong ‘desire’ to be there in Japan at no time at all .. go AA go ..

  • Tan

    Dear Azran,

    any updated news on this route? my wedding is coming soon in September at Yokohama, really hope can catch up some lower cost, so that it make my family trip enjoy more fun with more fund :)

    cheers!!

  • Azran

    Dear Tan,

    Regretfully, we are still not able to launch flights to Japan. We can definitely rule out 2009.

    Many hurdles to overcome.

  • Amirah Kausar

    oh dear !!! dat was really sad news .. if only u could make it in 2010 …

  • Tan

    oh.. sad to know that…

    anyway, thanks for the hardworks.. hopefully we can receive some good news for 2010!!

    cheers!!

  • Wai Fun

    Thanks to AirAsia! We can explore more places with lower fares. Really keen on AirAsia’s Japan route, very sure that me & my friends will be one of the supporter!

    Well done AirAsia & keep expanding!!!

  • Ahmad Ridzuan

    Come to Fukuoka Int Airport or Kitakyushu Airport … We are happy to assist AirAsia in future!

  • Azran

    Thanks for the offer, Ridzuan.

    We get quite a number of offers. If you can get Fukuoka airport to provide a compelling and attractive proposal, backed up tourism marketing support funding, then we might be able to go there.

    We’ve had ongoing discussions with them, to no avail – despite their enthusiasm to welcome us (not translating into actual commercial dollars).

    Kitakyushu is too small.

  • Mey Hwa

    Gambatte on the launch. Will be waiting for it.

  • Shi Hong

    I hope that I can go to Tokyo without going through other city.

    That means I hope that when AirAsia want to bring passenger to city X, AirAsia will try their best to make sure everyone can fly to city X, without going through any nearby city.

    I know that AirAsia bring passenger to Beijing through Tianjin. But, for passenger who want to go to Beijing, this will be a tired journey.

    So, when AirAsia want to bring us Japanese cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya or others, I hope that AirAsia’s flight to these cities will land in the Airports which mainly serve these cities, instead of landing in an airport in nearby city. This is to reduce the tired of the passengers.

    Lets take Osaka as an example. Osaka currently has two airport, Kansai International Airport and Osaka International Airport. In case if AirAsia trying to avoid Kangsai airport, then Osaka International Airport should be used instead of the airport located in nearby city.

    Hope that AirAsia will consider my suggestions. Good luck.

  • Faiz

    Salam Azran,

    So far, any news on the approval? Or any tentative date? Currently I am planning to go to Japan (Osaka / Tokyo), but the best airline is to offer right now is MAS (still quite expensive). If AA could get the approval by this year or early next year, that would be great :) I will definitely switch my option to AA (famous for their low cost fare *thumbs up*).

    Hoping to go there some time during Spring (for flower viewing) or Summer (festival) :)

  • Azran

    Dear Faiz,

    No approvals yet. Not likely to materialize by Summer 2010.

  • Wai Tian

    Owh~ It will be a long wait.. NVM, i believe in AirAsiaX that soon it will make Japan closer to us…
    So far, how is the plan for KL-Seoul route? is there any update about this destination?

  • Azran

    No update on Seoul. Trying hard. fingers-crossed.

  • Nankitsu

    Azran,

    I really wish you could get the Japan route…But how about other areas like Hokkaido? Great for the winter ski boom.
    Or how about Canada? We would love to have you here in the great white north.

  • Khee Boon

    Hi, Azran

    Good luck for your try to make AirAsiaX flying to Japan soon.

    Looking forward to fly to Japan again.
    AirAsia and AirAsiaX are the only airlines that understand consumers need.

    Next year 2010 I have altogther 15 flights using AirAsia/AirAsiaX and looking forward for all the trips.

    I’m also looking forward for AirAsia to launch Nov/Dec 2010 and Jan 2011 booking. Can’t wait to book some of my trips.

    Warmest regards,
    Boon (Penang Island)

  • Haruka

    I’m looking forward to fly to Thailand from Ibaraki or Haneda Airport!!

    Its easy and cheap(!?) to go from my home Tokyo.

    I wanna go to Phuket again someday…

  • Lee Li

    I have came across news in the japanese website that Air Asia has confirmed to fly here this year to the Kanto area and in future to Kyushuu area?! As Azran has commented earlier, Kitakyushuu airport is too small and Fukuoka airport didn’t seem to give attractive offer? How about Saga airport that has also offered some proposal to Air Asia? was it because of the airport is too small or due to less competitive offer? Personally, i don’t mind where Air Asia flies to as long as they come to Kyushuu. But if there is any reason stopping Air Asia from coming to Kyushuu and Saga Airport facilities are acceptable,I would want to appeal to Saga Prefectural government(^m^)

  • Azran

    Dear Lee Li,

    No, we have not confirmed any Japan routes. The website is misleading.

    I dont think we’ll start flying our first route to Kyushu – not in 2010.

  • Mohniandi

    Dear Azran,

    I’m one of your AA fan and frequent traveller.Eversince Tony vision to make travelling more affordable..me as a businessman always benefited much to say.. Here my sincere wish to see..capture JAPAN and Korea market before your competitor will do..i say this because i love so much AA. You guys vision has helped expands my business & knowledge.SYABAS MALAYSIA.

  • Chan

    Hi Azran,

    any news from japan? or tentative date? coz im planning to go to OSAKA this April. really hope tt AA can launch b4 tt…Cheers :)

    CCM

  • Azran

    Dear Chan,

    Sorry – we haven’t secured all regulatory rights to fly to Japan. Will not be doing flights in April.

    Best case now is Q4 this year.

  • Haruko

    Hi dear Azran!

    I really wish AirAsia can start to operate in Japan.

    I think you might have noticed that there are many local airport opening, yet can find airline company to operate.

    Especially, I definitely recommend two airport: Ibaraki and Shizuoka.
    Those two airports are located nearby Tokyo and very accessable. Ibaraki, one hour and a bit by local train and Shizuoka, only one hour by bullet train:Shinkansen.

    Please well consider to approach those newly opened local airports.

    I and my friend cannot wait to use AirAsia to visit whole Asia!

    Love you AirAsia!

  • Azran

    Thanks for your comments Haruko.

    Let me ask you the following:

    1. How many Tokyo residents are aware of Ibaraki and would be prepared to use Ibaraki? How much of a discount will they expect vs a flight from Narita?

    2. Shizuoka – as I understand it, the bullet train does not stop at the airport, so you stop somewhere else, then you have to find another local bus or taxi to get to airport. This adds a lot of inconvenience. Same thing with Ibaraki – no direct train straight to airport, so you have to stop at Tsukuba or somewhere else and transfer.

  • Romain

    Dear Azran,

    I think your idea to fly to Japan is great.
    Could you pls let us know whether you plan to fly to SAPPORO New Chitose Airport ?
    It’s a great destination (Niseko, Furano, Sapporo snow festival, Yosakoi festival etc…).
    Furthermore CTS has a new and modern international terminal.

    So I really hope that Airasia makes Sapporo CTS a priority…
    Thks in advance for sharing some fresh information with us.

  • Azran

    Thannks for your feedback Romain.

    Sapporo-Chitose is on our expansion plans, and we have already engaged with the Citose Airport authorities and Hokkaido government.

    However, Japan is a complex market that requires a lot of set-up work to operate it well.

    Very unlikely we’ll be in a position to do Sapporo in 2010.

    Could be open for some special charters during ski season.

  • Vincent Fong Chuan

    Dear Azran,

    I am a Malaysian who has been living here in Japan for 7 years now.

    My opinion on Ibaraki and Shizuoka is that I seriously doubt people would make the travel there. Just going to Narita is already a big hassle and that’s with full government support with transportation.

    I seriously doubt the local government of Ibaraki will be able to fund the necessary transportation upgrades to the Ibaraki airport(which our company have once looked at as an investment consideration) The airport is very inconveniently located and the airstrip is short plus expansion is almost impossible because of local complaints.

    The only real option is Haneda I would think. Narita has very expensive charges for landing and takeoffs so it might not be the best for a budget airline. I guess you guys have already considered Haneda. Now that they have expanded their airstrip let’s hope you guys can get a slot there. I would look forward to having you guys here.

    There’s always an option of connecting flights :)

    Consider flying to Kyuushuu and then making a connection there to Haneda with a local airline. I might be able to help there :)

    Vince

  • Azran

    Thanks for your comments, Vince.

    Complex decision. We’ll make it very carefully.

  • Chin Hiong

    Hi,

    May I know when will AirAsia starts its flight to Japan..? Can’t wait for it!!!

    Rgds.

  • Susan

    hi Azran,
    me and my japanese friends and family are very excited that air asia will soon fly to japan!!!
    reading through your thread, it looks like u are looking at smaller airports to fly into. well, shizuoka just got a new airport and i think it is your best bet! It’s only 2.5 hour by car to Tokyo, OR it’s 40 minutes by car from shizuoka airport to shizuoka train station and then an hour by shinkansen to tokyo. so people have choices on their mode of transportation according to their budget! you guys could even arrange a coach to take your passengers into tokyo. am sure AA passengers would like that.

    another reason why i think shizuoka is your best bet is because there are quite a few things to do around shizuoka, or between shizuoka and tokyo. You got the beautiful Mount Fuji, the Izu Peninsula as well as the famous Gotemba Outlet Mall for people who love branded stuff and good deals.

    As for Ibaraki, there isn’t much around it to see or do. except maybe some famous shrine nearby.

    anyways, i do hope u start flying into shizuoka. my friend and i just flew from shizuoka airport to shanghai last week, and we love the new shizuoka airport!

    Nagoya airport is nice too, but quite far away from tokyo.

    anyways, just wanted to share my two cents.

    looking forward to flying AA to Japan soon!!!

    any idea when you would start flying into japan?

  • Vincent Fong Chuan

    Dear Azlan,

    There was a news article here in Japan from Nikkei saying that AirAsia will fly to Japan by the end of this year in Haneda.

    Could you comment on this?

    Vince

  • Azran

    Vince,

    We’ve submitted applications to the Japanese authorities, and until we receive an approval from them, we’re not in a position to confirm any start of services to Japan.

    We hope we can receive approvals to enable Malaysians to experience the winter wonderland in Japan.

  • Azril Hairee

    Azran-san,

    Japan is like a playground to me. I’ve been there more than 15 times for biz trip & 1 time for personal trip. Japan is not expensive as what people’s think. You can even get lunch or dinner in Tokyo area for only 400~500yen. Accommodation for one night as cheap as 2000yen (capsule & dorm) or 4000yen (small hotel) in Tokyo area as well. When it comes to SALE, I’m the first one to go to the store. You can get GAP, Zara, FCUK shirt for as low as 900yen!!!

    Yes, get a visa for Japan is a bit hassle. You need an invitation letter, bank statement, & min RM6k in your acc for financial proof. Can you please discuss with the Japanese gov to delete the invitation letter? Without it, the application would be much easier.

    I really looking forward for AirAsiaX to enter Japan. I’ll be the first one to book the ticket. ;)

    Ganbatte!

    Gook Luck.

  • Lydia

    hi,
    Has AA confirmed with which airport they will first land in Japan? or which airport that have been considered to have the priority? ^^

    How much will the flight cost from Japan to Malaysia? (estimation)

    thank you very much.

    Happy travelling~

  • Azran

    Dear Lydia,

    I’m afraid we cannot disclose that yet until we’ve firmed up details.

    Hopefully some time this month.

  • Azril Hairee

    Azran-san,

    Does it mean AA will fly to Japan this year??? We all hope for the good news from you soon.

  • Kayne

    I am so excited to see in the latest email that you will fly to/from Japan.

    I have had many wonderful flights with Airasia. I’ll be based in Fukuoka in the south from the end of the month. Being connected either from Fukuoka, Osaka or Tokyo to the rest of Asia via KL would be wonderful!

    Thank you to the people who have made this a possibility.

  • Voravut

    I’m fly to Tokyo&Osaka every year to travel. If AirAsia can fly to this 2 city i’ll fly with u.

  • Sunghsuan

    I come from Taiwan and looking forward that AirAsia can fly to Japan.

    I am wondering that is KL – Tokoy route can via Taipei? Such as JetStar’s Singapore-Taipei-Osaka route.

    Looking forward to hear from AirAsia.

    Sean Lee

  • Azran

    Hi Sean,

    Thanks for your feedback. Presently however, we do not have any plans to fly to Japan via Taipei. It would be direct from KL.

  • Wong

    Hi Azran,

    We always feel excited when AAX launch new destination. Now to Haneda, Japan very soon. Been there many times myself and now want to fly with AAX to there with my family.
    Its good to know AAX continue to grow and everyone of us can fly further.
    Hope the fare offer during the launch will be as low as the Seoul.

  • Azril Hairee

    Azran-san,

    Omedetou gozaimasu (Congatulation)! Finally AA will fly to JAPAN! So tell us Azran, what is the price range to fly to Japan?

  • Siti Nur Nafhatun

    I love Japan. Although it’s a hassle getting a visa to Japan, it’s definitely worth the time and effort.

    My first and only trip to Japan was in 2007, and even that was for work. But I managed to explore whatever I can around Tokyo & Chiba — of course, knowing a little bit of Japanese helps much as you can blend into the culture quite easily. Plus, I even went to Urawa Red Diamond’s official merchandise shop to look for an Urawa jersey for my husband AND I managed to snap a picture of the house his family used to live in back in the 90s.. Travelling in Japan using its public transportation is never a headache for me.. :)

    I travelled mostly solo, but I found it rather easy to get by. Japan is a beautiful place. I can’t wait to travel to Japan with my husband via AAX! Yay! We can hardly wait to book the tix.. :)

  • Peng Hong

    AA: when u will fly to Sapporo, Hokkaido? Malaysian really like Hokkaido!!!! i swear!