Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Vanilla Air announces Kansai – Taipei.

On March 14th, Vanilla Air [JW/VNL] revealed that it will launch Osaka/Kansai [KIX/RJBB] – Taipei/Taoyuan [TPE/RCTP] on April 27th, making it just in time for Japan's Golden Week peak travel period (Vanilla Air to add Kansai – Taipei in Summer 2016.). The new service will be operated daily using 180-seat Airbus A320-200s. Kansai becomes the fledgling LCCs fourth destination in Japan, but the first not linking with Tokyo/Narita [NRT/RJAA], where it is based and all flights currently depart from.

Airbus A320-216(SL) JA01VA rotates from Amami bound for Narita. Vanilla Air will take delivery of their ninth A320 in April followed by the 10th in autumn. It plans to add up to five during FY2016 and build its fleet to 25 by FY2020. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

The aircraft for Taipei – Kansai arrives into Taiwan's largest city as the last flight of the day from Narita just past midnight, and turns around for the red-eye inbound flight to Kansai. After a brief 60-minute stay, it departs for Taipei as the outbound flight from Kansai, in time for the first flight of the day from Taipei back to Narita. Tickets went on sale on March 15th at 1400 JST with one-way fares starting from 6,490 JPY.

Flight Schedule:
Kansai – Taipei/Taoyuan NEW daily with A320-200.
JW178 TPE 2150 – 0135(+1) KIX 32A/320 Daily *Apr/27 - Sep/13.
JW178 TPE 2235 – 0220(+1) KIX 32A/320 Daily *Sep/13 - Oct/29.
JW179 KIX 0235 – 0430 TPE 32A/320 Daily *Apr/28 - Sep/14.
JW179 KIX 0315 – 0510 TPE 32A/320 Daily *Sep/14 - Oct/30.

This schedule is similar to how part-sister Peach Aviation [MM/APJ] flies into Tokyo/Haneda [HND/RJTT] from Seoul/Incheon [ICN/RKSI] (Peach Aviation starts Haneda – Seoul.) and Taipei (Peach Aviation inaugurates Haneda – Taipei.). However, it is ironic that Peach does it to access Haneda, where only midnight international slots are available, while Vanilla will do it to get around the curfew it endures at Narita and increase aircraft utilization.

Vanilla is expected to report its first full-year profit of an estimated 1.5 billion JPY for FY2015 ending on March 31st. In January, parent ANA Holdings had publicly announced that it would have its wholly-owned LCC arm build hubs at Okinawa/Naha [OKA/ROAH] and Taipei (Vanilla Air eyes China, Southeast Asia, and Okinawa hub.). Vanilla has already opened a reservations center in Taipei, and hopes to add flights to Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam by 2020 using fifth freedom rights, effectively making the Taiwanese capital a transfer hub with strong local demand as well.

Japan – Taiwan is a booming market with a plethora of LCCs alongside full-service airlines operating, but also now highly-competitive, with Kansai – Taipei soon to become the route with the most carriers in the world with a dozen airlines. Current LCCs include Jetstar Asia Airways [3K/JSA], Jetstar Japan [GK/JJP] (Jetstar Japan adds Nagoya and Kansai to Taipei.), homegrown Peach, Tigerair Taiwan [IT/TTW], and V Air [ZV/VAX], while legacy carriers include Cathay Pacific Airways [CX/CPA], China Airlines [CI/CAL], EVA Air [BR/EVA], Japan Airlines [JL/JAL], and TransAsia Airways [GE/TNA], with Philippine Airlines [PR/PAL] posed to enter from June 25th.

Source: Nikkei Business, 2016 March 10th. (in Japanese)
Source: Vanilla Air, 2016 March 14th. (in Japanese)

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