Friday, May 16, 2014

Vanilla Air cancels 154 flights in June due to pilot shortage.

On May 16th, Vanilla Air (JW/VNL) announced that they will cancel 154 flights in June due to pilot shortage. 17 round-trips for Tokyo/Narita (NRT/RJAA) – Okinawa/Naha (OKA/ROAH) and 60 round-trips for Narita – Sapporo/New Chitose (CTS/RJCC) are being canceled, affecting 2,551 passengers. Meanwhile, their Seoul/Incheon (ICN/RKSI) and Taipei/Taoyuan (TPE/RCTP) routes will be unaffected, again reflecting the airline's emphasis on the international market.
Vanilla Air's Airbus A320-216(SL) JA01VA at Narita. (Photo: Vanilla Air)

The boosted schedule effective June had 12 daily round-trips and called for 26 captains, however, three sick leaves and resignations forced the airline to cancel 32% of its planned flights for the month. On July 1st, the timetable will increase to 14 round-trips per day, with the launch of the Narita – Amami (ASJ/RJKA) (Vanilla Air announces Amami Oshima.), however, Vanilla Air is confident they will meet the required number of cockpit crews by hiring in four new, along with 'borrowing' two captains from sister All Nippon Airways (NH/ANA).

Passengers booked on the affected flights are being offered full refunds or re-booking (at no cost) on other Vanilla Air flights, as well as, surprisingly, ANA flights from Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT) and Narita when there is no Vanilla Air flight available for over four hours after the canceled flight. Both ANA and Vanilla Air are 100%-owned subsidiaries of ANA Holdings.

Sound familiar? With Peach announcing 2,072 cancellations from May to October (Peach outlines Summer 2014 mass cancellations.) due to similar reasons, it will no doubt give LCCs negative press, and will shed light on Japan and the region's shortage of pilots.

Source: Vanilla Air, May 16th. (in Japanese)
Source: Aviation Wire, May 16th. (in Japanese)

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