ANA’s new Tokyo-based low-cost carrier, Vanilla Air, will be officially launched on Friday 1 November 2013.
The new airline, which replaces AirAsia Japan, will be based at Tokyo Narita International Airport, offering routes to key domestic and international destinations, initially including Sapporo, Okinawa, Seoul and Taipei. Future routes are expected to include Hong Kong and Micronesia.
ANA said it would use Vanilla, along with its Osaka-based LCC Peach, to drive its regional growth in East Asia. These plans were revealed on Wednesday as part of ANA’s ‘Mid-Term Corporate Strategy’ update. In addition to the LCC growth from Narita and Osaka, ANA said the expansion of international slots at Tokyo Haneda Airport represents “the greatest business opportunity for the foreseeable future”, serving as “the catalyst for broader growth across Japan and Asia”.
In terms of international operations, ANA said it wants to increase its connections with North America and Asia, including the expansion of its joint venture with United Airlines. On the domestic front, it plans to compete with the Shinkansen bullet train network and other domestic LCCs, including Jetstar Japan, by adjusting capacity and aircraft size to match the demand, and keeping a tight control on operating costs.
Vanilla Air was formed following the demise of AirAsia Japan – the joint venture between ANA and AirAsia, which operated for just over 12 months before closing last month. Like AirAsia Japan, Vanilla Air will operate a fleet of all-economy 180-seat Airbus A320s. An initial fleet of two aircraft will be expanded to 10 by 2015.
Operations are expected to commence on 20 December 2013.