Saturday, April 18, 2015

ANA reveals Star Wars Project.

On April 17th, All Nippon Airways [NH/ANA] announced that they will introduce a Star Wars special theme livery featuring the iconic R2-D2 on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in autumn to kick off a five-year ANA Star Wars Project and agreement with The Walt Disney Company (Japan). This marks the first time a Star Wars character will appear on the exterior of a commercial aircraft. Dubbed R2-D2 ANA JET, the design was unveiled to Star Wars fans at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California, U.S.A.

The R2-D2 ANA JET scheme will be applied to Boeing 787-9 JA873A, the 345th Dreamliner and a Charleston-built example to be configured in an international layout. Delivery is planned for September. (Image: ANA)

The Star Wars Project is in line with ANA's strategy to bolster its international presence, slowly shifting dependence from the lucrative-but-shrinking domestic market, which currently generates almost 70% of their revenue.

Last spring, Japan's largest carrier expanded its international network from Tokyo/Haneda [HND/RJTT] (ANA's Summer 2014 international expansion.) after receiving a controversial (at least to JAL) 11 slot-pairs for international services, and is now on expansion mode at Tokyo/Narita [NRT/RJAA] as well, preparing to add Houston/George Bush [IAH/KIAH] in June (ANA announces Houston and Southeast Asia expansion.) and resume Kuala Lumpur/Sepang [KUL/WMKK] in September (ANA reveals Kuala Lumpur and expansion at Narita.), along with adding frequencies to several existing routes. ANA is expected to further strengthen its Narita hub to capture the Asia – North America market.

Other new destinations on ANA's short-term wishlist are Istanbul (ANA considering Haneda – Istanbul.), Mexico City, Phnom Penh (or Siem Reap), and Sydney. Rumors also point out to another route (or frequency increase) to North America and the addition (or resumption) of its Narita – London/Heathrow [LHR/EGLL] route, which was moved to Haneda last spring.

Source: All Nippon Airways, April 17th. (in Japanese)

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