Air Transport World

All Nippon is a power to be reckoned with. (All Nippon Airways)

All Nippon is a power to be reckoned with

All Nippon Airways, Japan's biggest domestic airline, is already No. 6 in passengers carried outside the USSR. The company makes it clear its goal is to surpass Japan Air Lines (JAL) as Japan's No. 1 carrier and to grow in worldwide stature as well. ANA's entry into the ranks of international scheduled airlines last year will help it move toward that goal.

All Nippon Airways was founded in 1952. Until 1971 its route network was limited to Japan, the result of a national policy making JAL the country's only flag carrier. But in 1970, Tokuji Wakasa, recently retired as vice minister of transport in the Japanese government, became ANA's president. The next year ANA began flying international charters to Hong Kong. ANA's aims stretched far beyond that, however.

By the end of fiscal year 1986, ANA had flown a total of 1.2 million passengers in 15 years of international charters. That compares with more than 24 million domestic passengers in one year. The 15 years between the first charters to Hong Kong and start-up of scheduled flights abroad last year were frustrating. They were especially so for Wakasa, who is now the full-time working chairman, master planner behind ANA's growth and "a strong advocate of internationalization.' His dreams emulate those of ANA's first president, Masuichi Midoro, who wanted ANA to be a world airline.

International goals

The pace of ANA's growth should accelerate, now that it has begun scheduled flights abroad. According to Akio Kondo, newly installed as president following the death in May of former President Taizo Nakamura, ANA expects 30% of its revenues to come from international scheduled operations in the next three to five years. Eventually ANA wants an even split between domestic and foreign sales. Charters are already decreasing as a percentage of company business and will continue to do so as international scheduled services increase.

Actually ANA has little choice but to expand outside Japan. The Japanese government has authorized more domestic competition. That includes JAL, the rival ANA is attacking abroad. The costs of operating in Japan also are high. Airport landing fees are several times that in the U.S., for example.

Challenger ANA delights in poking fun at JAL's loss of status as Japan's sole flag carrier. Staffers relate how Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone once became so angry with a JAL mechanical delay on one of his trips abroad that the next time he flew ANA. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.