ZIPAIR (ZG, Tokyo Narita) has announced plans for its inaugural passenger service, a 2x weekly route linking Tokyo Narita with Seoul Incheon, starting on October 16, 2020.

The wholly-owned JAL - Japan Airlines (JL, Tokyo Haneda) low-cost subsidiary has been operating Tokyo-Seoul as a cargo-only route since September 12. Now it will be available to passengers for at least the duration of the winter season, until March 26, 2021.

The start-up airline had intended to commence its first passenger operations on May 14, from Narita to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, having secured its Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) in July 2019. But the covid-19 crisis disrupted these plans, and it debuted its commercial flight operations on June 3 - ferrying freight to Bangkok instead of passengers.

A note concluding its October 8 press release announcing the new Seoul service said: “The flight schedule and airfares for the passenger service of the Tokyo-Bangkok route will be announced as soon as they are confirmed.”

Shingo Nishida, the carrier’s president, summarised in the release: “Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic we were forced to postpone the launch of our passenger flights, but we are finally able to welcome passengers on board. Although the covid-19 impact continues, we will do our best to serve our passengers with a new option for travel between Tokyo and Seoul.”

ZIPAIR Tokyo operates two owned B787-8s. It has told Japanese media that it aims to launch flights between Narita and Honolulu during the winter season, starting from October 25, but as of October 13, there had been no official announcement.

Following an application filed on July 7, ZIPAIR Tokyo was granted on October 5 an exemption authority and a Foreign Air Carrier Permit (FACP) by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) allowing it to operate scheduled or charter flights ferrying passengers, property, and mail between Japan and the United States.