ANA's new brand takes aim at cheap mid-range international market

Japan's leading airline operator, ANA Holdings, is launching a new brand which it says will offer cheaper mid-range international flights.

Air Japan will start operations next February, initially between Narita Airport near Tokyo and an unannounced destination in Southeast Asia.

The new carrier eventually plans to fly to Oceanian destinations as well.

Air Japan will offer only economy seats but they'll be roomier than those on existing budget flights. The new carrier will also sell pre-ordered meals.

The company says if passengers order on the day of their flight, they can choose from a special menu, such as freeze-dried meals, to reduce food waste.

Mineguchi Hideki, President and CEO of Air Japan, told reporters on Thursday that he thinks price is extremely important in gaining a competitive advantage over Asian airlines.

The new airline hopes more attractive ticket prices will appeal to visitors from around Southeast Asia.