Thursday, August 7, 2014

Vanilla Air announces Hong Kong and Kaohsiung.

On August 7th, Vanilla Air (JW/VNL) announced that they will launch Hong Kong (HKG/VHHH) in November and Kaohsiung (KHH/RCKH) in February 2015, from their hub at Tokyo/Narita (NRT/RJAA). President Tomonori Ishii reported in a press conference held in Tokyo.
Airbus A320-216(SL) JA01VA taxies for departure from Sapporo's New Chitose on a sunny winter day. (Photo: Vanilla Air)

The Hong Kong route will initially operate with three weekly round-trips, increasing to two daily by March 2015, the end of FY2014. One of the flights will fly on a red-eye schedule. Kaohsiung, which becomes Vanilla's second destination in Taiwan, will see a daily round-trip from the beginning. Details of the timetable along with fares will be released in September.

Network Overview (Oct/26/2014 - Mar/28/2015):
Narita – Amami 1 daily. (no change)
Narita – Hong Kong NEW 3 weekly, to be increased to 2 daily by Mar/2015.
Narita – Kaohsiung NEW 1 daily.
Narita – Okinawa/Naha up to 2 daily. (no change)
Narita – Sapporo/New Chitose from 5 to up to 4 daily. (reduction)
Narita – Seoul/Incheon from 2 to 1 daily. (reduction) 
Narita – Taipei/Taoyuan from 1 to 3 daily. (increase)

The wholly-owned subsidiary LCC of ANA Holdings, parent of All Nippon Airways (NH/ANA), currently operates three brand-new 180-seat Airbus A320s and three secondhand 166-seat A320s provided by sister ANA. The latter three will be replaced by three factory-fresh examples between September and November, while another two will be delivered in early 2015, bringing the fleet to eight.

In recent interviews, Mr. Ishii had revealed that other cities under consideration include Guam, Macau, Saipan, and Taichung. Vanilla's June load factor saw 58.7% for domestic and 72.7% for international flights. For the latter, Taiwan is doing particularly well seeing around 80%, while Korea is declining, due to continued political tensions between the two countries, and not made better by the ferry disaster in April, which prompted many Koreans to cancel trips and refrain from travelling for leisure for the remainder of the year. As for the former, they still haven't been able to make Narita work as a domestic airport.

Reference: Aviation Wire, August 1st. (in Japanese)
Reference: Aviation Wire, August 7th. (in Japanese)

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