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Vanilla Air Inc. (バニラ・エア株式会社, Banira Ea Kabushiki Kaisha) was a low-cost airline in Japan wholly owned by All Nippon Airways. Its head office is within Terminal 2 of Narita International Airport in Narita, Chiba Prefecture.[1] The airline ceased operations in October 2019 on its merger with Peach Aviation.

Vanilla Air
Vanilla Air logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
JW VNL VANILLA
Commenced operations20 December 2013
Ceased operations26 October 2019 (merged with Peach Aviation)
Operating basesNarita International Airport
Fleet size6
Destinations11
Parent companyAll Nippon Airways
HeadquartersNarita International Airport, Narita, Chiba Prefecture, Japan
Key peopleKatsuya Goto (President)
EmployeesTotal 759 employees (as of August 1st, 2018)
Websitewww.vanilla-air.com/en
Vanilla Air Aircraft in Narita International Airport

HistoryEdit

 
A Vanilla Air Airbus A320 taxiing at New Chitose Airport, Japan. (2014)

In June 2013, AirAsia announced it would exit its investment in AirAsia Japan, making the company a wholly owned subsidiary of ANA.[2] AirAsia Japan announced in August that it would continue operation under its current branding through 26 October 2013 and would then be rebranded as Vanilla Air effective 1 November 2013; Vanilla Air would start operations with two aircraft and expand to ten aircraft by fiscal year 2015, with both domestic and international routes.[3] All of AirAsia Japan's staff were to be inherited by Vanilla Air, and the airline would focus on serving resort destinations, eventually expanding to longer routes after an initial focus on short-haul routes.[4]

AirAsia Japan aircraft were to be returned to AirAsia, with Vanilla Air retaining only two aircraft at the outset. Although Vanilla Air was to continue operating from AirAsia Japan's principal base at Narita International Airport, the fleet reduction forced the abandonment of the AirAsia Japan hub at Chubu Centrair International Airport. However, Vanilla Air management stated that Chubu was the strongest candidate for a second hub.[5]

At the end of July, prior to the rebranding announcement, the Nikkei reported that the restructured AirAsia Japan operation would focus on the popular resort markets of Sapporo, Okinawa, Honolulu, Guam and Saipan;[6] a later report stated that 70% of its capacity would be international, making better use of slot restrictions at Narita Airport by operating outbound flights late at night and return flights early in the morning.[7] The expansion to 10 aircraft was intended to make the airline more competitive with Jetstar Japan, a Narita-based low-cost carrier partly owned by Japan Airlines.[8]

Vanilla Air operated its first flights from Narita to Okinawa and Taipei on 20 December 2013.[9] Vanilla Air introduced the "Vaniller's Pass," a one-month pass good for travel on its Tokyo-Amami route, in December 2014. Although aimed at surfing and diving enthusiasts in the Tokyo region, passengers used the passes for other purposes such as caring for family members.[10]

In its first years of operations, Vanilla Air faced a pilot shortage and operated at a net loss. In the fiscal year ending March 2016, amid low oil prices and a surge of inbound tourism to Japan, Vanilla Air produced its first annual operating profit, allowing it to unfreeze its expansion plans. In February 2016, it was reported that Vanilla Air would set up a second base at Taipei Taoyuan International Airport to serve destinations in Southeast Asia, making Vanilla Air the first Japanese LCC to utilize beyond rights from a third country.[11]

In June 2017 Vanilla Air suffered criticism after a disabled passenger flying from Amami to Osaka had to crawl up a set of stairs to enter an aircraft. The passenger, Hideto Kojima, was told he would not be allowed to board the plane if he could not climb the stairs without assistance.[12][13]

On 22 March 2018, All Nippon Airways announced the integration of its two low cost carrier subsidiaries Peach Aviation and Vanilla Air, starting in the second half of the FY2018 and to be completed by the end of FY2019. Vanilla would be merged into Peach, planning for a fleet of more than 50 aircraft beyond FY2020 (up from 35 today), operating on more than 50 routes (up from 39) and targeting a ¥150 (1.36) billion revenue and a 10% operating profit for FY2020.[14] Vanilla Air ceased operations on 26 October 2019.

Corporate affairsEdit

When it was known as AirAsia Japan it had its headquarters in Shiodome City Center in Minato, Tokyo.[15]

The headquarters was in Tokyo Narita Terminal 2.

DestinationsEdit

 
A Vanilla Air Airbus A320. (2014)
 
A Vanilla Air Airbus A320 at Narita 2017

Vanilla Air served the following destinations (as of October 2019; at time of merger into Peach Aviation):[16][17]

Country City Airport Notes Refs
Hong Kong Hong Kong Hong Kong International Airport Terminated
Japan Amami Amami Airport Terminated
Fukuoka Fukuoka Airport Terminated
Hakodate Hakodate Airport Terminated [18]
Ishigaki New Ishigaki Airport Terminated
Naha Naha Airport Terminated
Osaka Kansai International Airport Terminated [19]
Sapporo New Chitose Airport Terminated
Tokyo Narita International Airport Terminated
South Korea Seoul Incheon International Airport Terminated
Philippines Cebu Mactan–Cebu International Airport Terminated
Taiwan Kaohsiung Kaohsiung International Airport Terminated
Taipei Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Terminated
Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City Tan Son Nhat International Airport Terminated

FleetEdit

The Vanilla Air fleet consisted of the following aircraft (as of October 2019; at time of merger into Peach Aviation):[20][21]

Aircraft In fleet Passengers
Airbus A320-200 6 180

Vanilla Air took delivery of its first A320 aircraft on 14 November 2013.[22]

LiveryEdit

The Vanilla Air livery featured a white fuselage and a yellow stabilizer, with a blue ‘V’ and three white lines below the ‘V’, therefore making a shape of a flower painted on it. The words 'Vanilla Air' were painted on top of the windows.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Corporate Profile." (Archive) Vanilla Air. Retrieved on 19 January 2014. "Headquarters Narita International Airport 2PTB, Chiba, JAPAN" - Address in Japanese (Archive): "成田国際空港 第2旅客ターミナル内" (Narita International Airport, inside Passenger Terminal 2)
  2. ^ "ANA、LCCを一本化 エアアジアとの合弁解消へ". 日本経済新聞. June 10, 2013.
  3. ^ "LCC新社名「バニラ・エア」に エアアジア・ジャパン". 日本経済新聞. 20 August 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  4. ^ "AirAsia Japan rebranded 'Vanilla Air'". Agence-France Presse. 20 August 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  5. ^ "第2の拠点空港「中部を最優先」 LCCのバニラ・エア社長". 日本経済新聞. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  6. ^ "ANA、格安航空で攻勢 ハワイや台湾に観光路線". 日本経済新聞. 31 July 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  7. ^ "新LCCバニラ・エア、国際観光路線で巻き返し 2機体制の増強課題". 日本経済新聞. 2 September 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
  8. ^ "ANA系LCCバニラ・エア、「3年内に単年度黒字に」". 日本経済新聞. 21 August 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  9. ^ "ANA系格安航空、バニラ・エア就航 社名一新し再起". 日本経済新聞. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  10. ^ Kohase, Yusuke (2 February 2015). "バニラエア、ソウル線3月運休へ 新路線「現時点で計画なし」". Aviation Wire. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  11. ^ "Vanilla Air to leapfrog deeper into Asia via Taiwan". Nikkei Asian Review. 18 February 2016. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  12. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-40435031
  13. ^ "Japan carrier apologizes to disabled man over tarmac stairs". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  14. ^ "Peach Aviation and Vanilla Air Unite Together to become the leading LCC in Asia" (Press release). ANA. March 22, 2018.
  15. ^ "ANA and AirAsia to form ‘AirAsia Japan’." (Archive) All Nippon Airways. July 21, 2011. Retrieved on November 1, 2012. "Address: 1-5-2 Higashi Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo (plan)"
  16. ^ "Vanilla Air to give owner ANA a presence in abandoned markets while offering a hybrid model". CAPA Centre for Aviation. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  17. ^ Vanilla Air Timetable
  18. ^ http://www.routesonline.com/news/38/airlineroute/270086/vanilla-air-plans-new-domestic-routes-in-1q17/?highlight=vanilla
  19. ^ "Vanilla Air Adds Osaka – Taipei Service from late-April 2016". airlineroute. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  20. ^ "Vanilla Air Fleet Details and History". Planespotters.net. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  21. ^ http://www.vanilla-air.com/en/service/fleet-and-seatmap
  22. ^ Yoshikawa, Tadayuki (14 November 2013). "バニラ・エア、白装束のA320初号機が成田到着". Aviation Wire. Retrieved 18 November 2013.

External linksEdit