Japanese low-cost carrier Skymark Airlines said Wednesday it would order six Airbus A330-300 planes, for expected delivery from 2014, as it seeks to fly international routes and challenge its larger rivals.
"We intend to order the A330-300 after having already chosen the Airbus A380," said the airline in a statement, referring to its decision to buy the A380 superjumbos, making it the first Japanese airline to do so.
"We are working on building up our network to offer customers a high-quality and easy-to-use service."
The latest order highlighted Skymark's strong relationship with Airbus in a country where American plane manufacturer Boeing has long dominated, analysts said.
The airline, which is also due to receive in 2014 the first of six A380s, did not say on which routes it planned to use the A330, a twin-engine, long-haul plane which can carry up to 300 passengers.
Skymark, which started flying in 1998, currently has about 20 routes in Japan and a fleet of more than 20 aircraft. Its ticket prices are lower than those of larger carriers, Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA).
Based at Tokyo's Haneda International Airport, Skymark has previously said it wants to push into Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States and challenge the dominance of JAL and ANA.
But it faces competition from three new low-cost airlines in Japan which are supposed to start operating in the coming months.
Â© 2012 AFP
Date: Feb 8, 2012