Monday, February 2, 2015

Vanilla Air launches Kaohsiung but slows expansion.

On February 1st, Vanilla Air [JW/VNL] launched daily Tokyo/Narita [NRT/RJAA] – Kaohsiung [KHH/RCKH] service aboard their 180-seat Airbus A320-200s. At the same time, the fledgling LCC also increased its recently-added Hong Kong [HKG/VHHH] route (Vanilla Air inaugurates Hong Kong.) to daily. Both destinations were announced simultaneously last September (Vanilla Air works out details for Hong Kong and Kaohsiung.).

Airbus A320-216(SL) JA03VA comes in to land at Narita, Vanilla Air's hub. JA02VA and JA03VA fly in an incomplete white livery since they had been earmarked for AirAsia Japan (Mk I) but quick ownership change and re-launch under a new brand didn't allow time for a full paint job before service entry. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

Inaugural flight JW121 departed Narita at 1145 JST and arrived at Kaohsiung at 1518 NST. It was operated by A320-216(SL) JA05VA carrying 127 passengers (including three infants), four flight attendants, and two pilots. Load factor was 70.6%. Meanwhile, the inaugural return leg JW122 had 177 passengers booked, which equates to 98.3%.

Flight Schedule:
Narita – Kaohsiung NEW 1 daily with A320-200.
JW121 NRT 1145 – 1520 KHH 32A Daily *Feb/1 - Mar/28.
JW121 NRT 1025 – 1335 KHH 32A Daily *Mar/29 - Jun/30. Dep/arr 15 min early on Wed.
JW121 NRT 1025 – 1320 KHH 32A Daily *Jul/1 - Sep/30.
JW121 NRT 1010 – 1335 KHH 32A Daily *Oct/1 - 24. Dep 10 min early, arr 15 min early on Wed.
JW122 KHH 1600 – 2025 NRT 32A Daily *Feb/1 - Mar/28.
JW122 KHH 1415 – 1850 NRT 32A Daily *Mar/29 - Jun/30. Dep/arr 15 min early on Wed.
JW122 KHH 1400 – 1845 NRT 32A Daily *Jul/1 - Sep/30.

JW122 KHH 1415 – 1845 NRT 32A Daily *Oct/1 - 24. Dep/arr 15 min early on Wed.

The southern city of Kaohsiung becomes Vanilla Air's second destination in Taiwan after Taipei/Taoyuan [TPE/RCTP], which it serves three times daily. Having served the capital ever since re-launch under the current brand from AirAsia Japan (Mk I) [JW/WAJ] (Vanilla Air launches operations.), it sees Taiwan as a key market, which accounted for 21.1% of all visitors to Japan in 2014, becoming the largest inbound market by passenger number. South Korea came second with 20.5% followed by China with 18.0%, not including Hong Kong, which accounted for 6.9%.

The growing Japan – Taiwan market is increasingly becoming another LCC (as well as full-service carriers) battleground, with Peach Aviation [MM/APJ] planning to add a midnight Tokyo/Haneda [HND/RJTT] – Taipei/Taoyuan flight this summer (Peach plans Narita hub and Haneda – Taipei.), in addition to its flights to the Taiwanese capital from Osaka/Kansai [KIX/RJBB] and Okinawa/Naha [OKA/ROAH] along with Kansai – Kaohsiung (Peach launches Kaohsiung.). Scoot [TZ/SCO] already serves Narita – Taipei, and this year Tigerair Taiwan [IT/TTW] and V Air [ZV/VAX] are posed to enter.

Meanwhile, Vanilla Air will increase its Hong Kong service to double-daily from February 21st when their eighth A320 arrives, and on the other hand axe Seoul/Incheon [ICN/RKSI] from March 29th (Vanilla Air to suspend Seoul.). ANA Holdings, parent of All Nippon Airways [NH/ANA], recently announced that its wholly-owned Narita-based LCC subsidiary will keep its fleet at eight through FY2015. Deliveries of two A320s will be deferred to FY2016, while Vanilla Air "improves yield and revenue management."

Source: ANA Holdings, January 21st. (in Japanese)
Source: Aviation Wire, February 1st. (in Japanese)

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