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Local businesses struggling to get new airline off ground

Date Posted: 1998-07-30

Southern Cross Co., Ltd. was set up by 32 local companies in Aug. 1997. The aim was to create a new air carrier that would better respond to the needs of local businesses and travelers.

However, with the deepening of the nation's economic slump, it seems harder and harder to get the new airline off the ground. At the company's shareholders' meeting, Monday, Southern Cross President Masayuki Noha described the difficulties in getting together enough capital to be able to begin actual flight operations. "We have to make a final decision on whether to push ahead by the end of September. Simply put, if we cannot raise enough capital to begin operations, we have to disband the company," Noha said. He also describe the current business climate for airliners as very tough. "In practical terms, every Japanese carrier is operating in red. It will be very difficult to raise enough capital in this kind of environment," he said.

On the pro-side he said that for one, all Okinawan islands need air lines. And for two, the future development of Okinawan economy need air lines. With this in mind, he urged all shareholders to do their best to get money to build up the company. In 1997, when the company was set up, the 32 original shareholders provided a capital of е50 million. However, to get the company operational, some е3.2 billion is needed.

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