All Nippon Airways (ANA) has disclosed that it is launching a low-cost carrier joint-venture in Japan with Malaysia’s AirAsia.

AirAsia Japan aims to apply for an air operator’s certificate from the Japanese authorities in September and start flying in August 2012, says ANA, which will own 51% of the joint-venture, while AirAsia will have 49%.

The new carrier will be based at Tokyo Narita International Airport and serve domestic and international routes, it says.

“In Japan, the aviation market is undergoing rapid transformation with developments including the expansion of open skies agreements and increased domestic competition from road and rail-based travel.” says ANA.

“In addition, Narita airport, a major international hub serving Tokyo, is seeking to increase capacity with the introduction of a new terminal and is expected to attract many low-cost carriers and foreign airlines. ANA has been seeking opportunities to launch a new low-cost business based at Narita and, after analysis, has concluded that partnering with an existing low-cost carrier is the most efficient and strategically advantageous option,” it adds.

ANA is also working to establish Peach, a low-cost carrier that will be based at Osaka Kansai International Airport and aims to launch next year. Peach already has a contract in place with GE Capital Aviation Services for leases on A320s.

ANA president Shinichiro Ito says: “By combining AirAsia’s business model and brand with ANA’s depth of knowledge of the Japanese market, we aim to bring new value to our customers, offer diverse and enjoyable travel experiences, and generate new demand. We believe that AirAsia Japan will make air travel more accessible and provide a convenient and efficient travel option for a wide range of people.”

While AirAsia is teaming up with ANA, Qantas Airways’ low-cost carrier Jetstar has been speaking to Japan Airlines about establishing a low-cost carrier joint-venture in Japan to serve domestic and international markets. Jetstar group CEO, Bruce Buchanan, says there are relatively few low-cost carriers in northeast Asia compared to southeast Asia, where AirAsia is based. There are no low-cost carriers in Taiwan and there is only one low-cost carrier in China, Shanghai’s Spring Airlines. There are, however, several small low-cost carriers in South Korea, such as Jin Air, Jeju Air and Air Busan. These Korean carriers started as domestic carriers, but in recent times have expanded internationally, with their first overseas market being Japan.

AirAsia is also working to launch joint-venture airlines in the Philippines and Vietnam.