Working at Peach
creating value that
hasn’t existed to date.
Peach Aviation Limited
Representative Director & CEOShinichi Inoue
We hear that there were a lot of critical opinions for LCCs at the time that services were begun in 2012. What were things really like?
No business model for LCCs existed yet in Japan at the time, so a lot of the opinions around us were (to the effect of) “It won’t take root in Japan since costs are high in Japan” and “An aviation business based in Kansai will not succeed”. It was really a challenge against adverse winds.
Despite all the negative opinions, Peach managed to achieve single-year profit in only two years and one month from the start of its services and has achieved four consecutive periods of profit since 2014.
We have been adamant about safety since the beginning. While emphasizing the point that we are “a company that is discerning with regard to basic quality as an airline (i.e. flying properly), we have made challenges for comprehensive cost management initiatives outside the aspect of safety and thus made it possible to produce low fares. We have been able to develop routes at the fastest speed in the history of aviation in Japan. Thanks to all concerned parties, we were able to break past the 20 million mark for our accumulated number of passengers in the summer of 2017. It calculates to one out of six people in Japan flying Peach. Fathers on work assignments away from their families go home every weekend, women take leisurely all-girls trips to South Korea, and we really have a sense that we have become “a flying train”, which has been our concept from the start.
How do you see the objects that Peach will be aiming to achieve from this point onward?
At the moment, we are proceeding to the next stage, embracing the theme, “from price competition to the creation of value”. We can’t be bound by the frameworks of conventional methods if we’re going to make the creation of value our focus. We will continue to generate potential demand by taking aggressive initiatives as “a bridge between Japan and Asia”, which is our corporate mission, for developing new routes while maintaining affordable fares so we can contribute to the targets set by the Japanese government to bring in foreign tourists to Japan—40 million in 2020 and 60 million in 2030. We will aim to become the best airline in the world that can offer value creation for offering value as “a flying train” to customers at our destinations; to all our customers.
What sort of impact does a route serviced by Peach have on a destination area?
Back in 2012 when Peach first opened services, Kansai Airport had been quiet. Now there are long lunch queues and the buses and trains from Osaka and Kobe are always packed. The same things are happening at other destination areas. Because Peach’s fares are low, people can keep traveling to a location if they like it, which results in repeat visitors. That leads to improvements in the infrastructure for transportation, more people start to come and go, and the surrounding areas also become invigorated. I think in that way, we’re also contributing to the invigoration of local communities.
What do you feel have been the key points for the success of Peach to date?
It’s natural that it would be all of our employees. All I did was perhaps match the direction of the awareness among our employees. First, I had everyone embrace the awareness that safety leads to customer trust. While I encourage new challenges, the answer is an absolute no if something doesn’t have the perspective of safety as a part of it. I can’t give permission for something that may stop our customers from smiling. And on top of that, an attitude to enjoy working. There were mountains of issues faced in realizing our low costs, but we have been moving Peach forward to date with the attitude that we would make brave challenges and enjoy even the difficulties that we faced and that if something wasn’t possible, we would create a setting to make it possible. All the work at an airline is done by teams. I sought from our employees the type of conduct that would make people, including colleagues, partners, and other relevant parties, feel glad that they worked with Peach. I think these three things that our employees have done with simple honesty is what has created Peach today.
What types of challenges are you now making?
There was a time when Airbus, which manufactures our aircraft, made a call for companies to use its aviation data platform called Skywise as a test. Skywise is a tool that aids decisions on aircraft allocations and the timing for exchanging parts in order to improve the dependability and efficiency of operations. A maintenance worker heard about it and suggested using it; I, too, thought it was interesting and amazing, and we introduced it immediately. I later heard that there were only four companies in the world, which included Peach, that initially introduced Skywise. This is just one example, but I feel that our corporate culture of being alert to new things and responding regardless of the department and taking prompt action is what creates our spirit of challenge.
How would you define a Peach person, or a member of Peach?
My definition of a professional is a person who thinks for themselves and is partial to the results and I feel that it’s our “Peach people” who bring together their strengths as professionals and play as a team who create the venue that is called Peach. Even if someone’s a professional, they can’t be described as a Peach person if they run off playing to the grandstand. I would like us to continue to be a group that brings together strengths as professionals and continues to think about and be discerning as to how to realize the optimum results in the shortest period. To do that, we eliminate everything that isn’t necessary. Handwritten documents are good enough to submit to me. Beautifully compiled materials are a waste of time. They may be necessary for use outside the office but internally, I think that’s good enough. I’m treated pretty carelessly at our company (laugh).
What are the types of people who are a good match for Peach?
As we’re a company with a really fast rate of growth, we can’t have people saying they can’t do something because it isn’t their responsibility. That’s what it’s like at Peach. For that reason, people who rely on others to do something and those who only want to work within set constraints aren’t a match for us. Peach is more like a project that’s flying aircraft than an airline, so we aren’t Peach jet or Peach air—we’re simply Peach. I want our employees to continue to make new challenges and feel the joy of producing results. I think that sort of experience is really necessary for life. It’s no fun if you’re fooling yourself and just managing to get by. I always say to people when they join our company that when they die, I’d like them to really feel that they had fun working at Peach (laugh). It’s all right if things don’t work out. As long as you get up and move forward, it’s not a mistake but instead a learning experience.
I see. In the sense that we aren’t limited to constraints, it’s also a characteristic of Peach that we have employees with various nationalities and people from different industries flourishing in their work.
Yes. We currently have employees from more than 20 countries. Because we have people not only with different nationalities but also with different backgrounds, our employees must think it’s natural that they think differently from one another. They face each other’s differences and create better things. We can’t do that in a good way if they don’t see things from the other person’s perspective and enjoy their differences. This doesn’t only apply within the company; the same thing goes for the customers who fly Peach as well as the various parties who are concerned with Peach. By respecting the people around you and bringing forward your opinions with consideration for others you produce a diverse array of ideas, which serves as the engine that creates our uniqueness that leads to differentiation from other companies.
Please give us a message for people who are thinking about applying for Peach.
Working at Peach means creating value that hasn’t existed to date. There will be tough conditions where past experiences won’t be of use and many walls that have to be scaled, and to be honest, it isn’t easy. But once you get past that, what awaits is the happiness of our customers and your individual growth. There are unique, interesting colleagues at Peach who will share their values and work with you through tough times, so let’s go beyond conventional frameworks together and create a new movement in the aviation industry, in Japan, and in Asia. We look forward to seeing people who empathize with our idea that we should be the ones to control our own lives and that a life where you’re used by others is no fun.