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AirAsia sets up Japan budget airline with partners including Rakuten

Published on Jul 1, 2014 2:04 PM

TOKYO (REUTERS) - AirAsia Bhd said on Tuesday that it would set up a low-cost airline with Japan's biggest online retailer Rakuten Inc and other firms, marking the budget carrier's second attempt to tap one of Asia's lucrative air travel markets.

The new carrier, AirAsia Japan, will start flying in about a year with a fleet of five aircraft, the carrier's CEO Yoshinori Odagiri told reporters. The airline will fly to both domestic and international destinations, but has yet to decide which airport it will be based out of, he added.

Rakuten will own an 18 per cent stake in the new airline, while Noevir Holdings Co Ltd, a diversified conglomerate that owns an aircraft leasing business, will own 9 per cent. AirAsia is also partnering with Octave Japan Infrastructure Fund and sports firm Alpen Co Ltd.

The total cost of the venture was not immediately clear.

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