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Malaysian airline scouts for partner in Japan

Malaysian low cost airline AirAsia is scouting for a new partner in Japan to fly the domestic routes there after its recent divorce with its two-year-old joint venture partner ANA Holdings Inc, said a top group official.

"We are looking for suitable partners there. There is no time frame fixed for reentering the Japanese market," AirAsia group CEO Tony Fernandes told reporters in Chennai on Saturday.

On June 25, AirAsia announced the termination of its two-year-old joint venture with ANA Holdings under AirAsia Japan.

ANA Holdings is the holding company that holds shares in ANA (All Nippon Airways), ANA Wings, Air Japan and others.

According to AirAsia, the Japanese venture faced many challenges since its launch including how the business should be managed from cost management to where the domestic business operations should be based.

Speaking about the Japanese venture, Fernandes said it was only a divorce and not a business failure.

The termination of Japanese joint venture comprises of ANA Holdings buying back AirAsia's 49 percent stake in AirAsia Japan and return of all aircrafts leased from the Malaysian low cost carrier by Nov 1, 2013 and the payment of all monies accrued from the leasing of the aircraft.

Fernandes said AirAsia prefers organic growth rather than buying into an existing airline as the cultural matching will be difficult.

"Right culture will keep the costs low," he added.