Following ANA’s announcement that it was going to launch a new airline brand back in 2020, details have emerged today of how this brand will look. Dubbed ‘AirJapan’, ANA’s new carrier is “a new airline brand for medium-haul international routes.”

Air Japan is actually just one part of ANA’s transformation of its business model to pursue sustainable growth and the ability to quickly respond to a wide range of customer preferences. You may not be aware, but AirJapan actually already exists as a carrier, operating charter flights under the ANA brand with a fleet of no less than 80 aircraft, making it one of the largest carriers you might not have heard of.

“We are excited to announce that the brand name, logo, and aircraft design have now been finalized, and preparations are underway to prepare for its launch in the second half of FY2023. The exact routes and specific dates of the scheduled first flight is still under consideration as ANA is closely monitoring trends in the recovery of demand for international flights,” state ANA’s press release.

So what do we know?

The carrier plans to offer a mid-ranged product, bridging the gap between a low-cost carrier and a full-service brand, which seems somewhat akin to Joon or Eurowings, rather than Scoot or Zipair. However, the carrier will be distinctly Japanese, focussing on regional style and Japanese levels of quality.

At the heart of the proposition is “Where people get more of what they want, and less of what they don’t” But considering most people appreciate and value the full service carrier proposition, it would be interesting to see what is taken off the table and considered as a bolt-on, especially when the carrier is boasting affordable prices similar to low-cost carriers.

And what of the brand image?

The brand philosophy can be summed up in the phrase “Fly Thoughtful”, which expresses the airline’s desire to offer a ‘caring, thoughtful and gentle approach’. Although the chances the brand name was selected because of the existing AOC, the press release states the brand name “AirJapan” was selected in order to convey to people around the world that it is a Japanese airline, and to remind customers that it offers “Japanese Quality” in all that it does.

Interestingly, the brand image, created by Landor & Fitch is fairly well considered, with a modern interpretation of a Japanese brand, with futuristic font, and connecting ‘r and j’ emblem designed to reflect a hand-to-hand interaction.

While that might not be evident at first, the mechanism will create an iconic logo design. The only issue is that the RJ (not to be confused with Royal Jordanian) on the tail fin, doesn’t stand for Air Japan, as there’s no obvious connection between the initials and airline name, when seen as a direct representation of letters.

However, Japan is a logographically led country, where the alphabet isn’t Latin based, so therefore the RJ will naturally appear closer to a logo, rather than initials.

When it comes to brand touches, the choice of colour combines the traditional Japanese colours “Ai (indigo)” and “Akebono (sunrise)”. The indigo colour expresses the skills and careful technique involved in the traditional Japanese art of indigo dyeing, a complex process which requires “Trust & Thoughtfulness” from the artisan. Meanwhile the sunrise colour was inspired by sakura and the spring season of Japan, reflecting both comfort and warmth – demonstrating AirJapan’s commitment to “Comfort & Care”.

On first impressions, we’re pleasantly surprised with both a concise and international approach to the brand. Naturally the biggest flourishes of this brand will be seen as the carrier reveals its cabin, hard product, soft product and digital touchpoints. Watch this space!

Posted by:Jonny Clark

One thought on “ANA relaunches AirJapan as new mid-market carrier in 2023

  1. Akebono is an over-used color in Japan (known in the west as Ashes Of Roses) and one which during 30 years of traveling to Japan I got heartily sick of.

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