Vanilla Air

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Vanilla Air
Vanilla Air logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1 November 2013; 4 years ago (2013-11-01)
Commenced operations 20 December 2013
Operating bases Narita International Airport
Alliance Value Alliance
Fleet size 13
Destinations 10
Parent company All Nippon Airways
Headquarters Narita International Airport, Narita, Chiba Prefecture, Japan
Key people Katsuya Goto (President)
Employees 653 (April 1, 2017)

Vanilla Air Inc. (バニラ・エア株式会社, Banira Ea Kabushiki Kaisha) is a low-cost airline in Japan wholly owned by All Nippon Airways. Its head office is within Terminal 2 of Narita International Airport in Narita, Chiba Prefecture.[1]


A Vanilla Air Airbus A320 taxiing at New Chitose Airport, Japan. (2014)

In June 2013, AirAsia announced to exit its investment in AirAsia Japan, making the company a wholly owned subsidiary of ANA.[2] AirAsia Japan announced in August that it would continue operation under its current branding through 26 October 2013 and would then be rebranded as Vanilla Air effective 1 November 2013; Vanilla Air would start operations with two aircraft and expand to ten aircraft by fiscal year 2015, with both domestic and international routes.[3] All of AirAsia Japan's staff were to be inherited by Vanilla Air, and the airline would focus on serving resort destinations, eventually expanding to longer routes after an initial focus on short-haul routes.[4]

AirAsia Japan aircraft were to be returned to AirAsia, with Vanilla Air retaining only two aircraft at the outset. Although Vanilla Air was to continue operating from AirAsia Japan's principal base at Narita International Airport, the fleet reduction forced the abandonment of the AirAsia Japan hub at Chubu Centrair International Airport. However, Vanilla Air management stated that Chubu was the strongest candidate for a second hub.[5]

At the end of July, prior to the rebranding announcement, the Nikkei reported that the restructured AirAsia Japan operation would focus on the popular resort markets of Sapporo, Okinawa, Honolulu, Guam and Saipan;[6] a later report stated that 70% of its capacity would be international, making better use of slot restrictions at Narita Airport by operating outbound flights late at night and return flights early in the morning.[7] The expansion to 10 aircraft was intended to make the airline more competitive with Jetstar Japan, a Narita-based low-cost carrier partly owned by Japan Airlines.[8]

Vanilla Air operated its first flights from Narita to Okinawa and Taipei on 20 December 2013.[9] Vanilla Air introduced the "Vaniller's Pass," a one-month pass good for travel on its Tokyo-Amami route, in December 2014. Although aimed at surfing and diving enthusiasts in the Tokyo region, passengers used the passes for other purposes such as caring for family members.[10]

In its first years of operations, Vanilla Air faced a pilot shortage and operated at a net loss. In the fiscal year ending March 2016, amid low oil prices and a surge of inbound tourism to Japan, Vanilla Air produced its first annual operating profit, allowing it to unfreeze its expansion plans. In February 2016, it was reported that Vanilla Air would set up a second base at Taipei Taoyuan International Airport to serve destinations in Southeast Asia, making Vanilla Air the first Japanese LCC to utilize beyond rights from a third country.[11]

In June 2017 Vanilla Air suffered criticism after a disabled passenger flying from Amami to Osaka had to crawl up a set of stairs to enter an aircraft. The passenger, Hideto Kojima, was told he would not be allowed to board the plane if he could not climb the stairs without assistance.[12][13]

On March 22, 2018, All Nippon Airways announced the integration of its two low cost carrier subsidiaries Peach Aviation and Vanilla Air, starting in the second half of the FY2018 and to be completed by the end of FY2019 into Peach, planning over 50 aircraft beyond FY2020, up from 35 today, operating on more than 50 routes, up from 39 currently, and targeting a ¥150 (1.34) billion revenue and a 10% operating profit for FY2020.[14]

Corporate affairs[edit]

When it was known as AirAsia Japan it had its headquarters in Shiodome City Center in Minato, Tokyo.[15]


A Vanilla Air Airbus A320. (2014)
A Vanilla Air Airbus A320 at Narita 2017

Vanilla Air serves the following destinations (as of July 2016):[16][17]

[Base] Base
[F] Future destination
City Country IATA ICAO Airport
Amami Japan ASJ RJKA Amami Airport
Cebu Philippines CEB RPVM Mactan–Cebu International Airport[18]
Hakodate Japan HKD RJCH Hakodate Airport[19]
Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam SGN VVTS Tan Son Nhat International Airport[20]
Okinawa Japan OKA ROAH Naha Airport
Osaka Japan KIX RJBB Kansai International Airport[21]
Sapporo Japan CTS RJCC New Chitose Airport
Taipei Taiwan TPE RCTP Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport
Tokyo Japan NRT RJAA Narita International Airport [Base]
Hong Kong China HKG VHHH Hong Kong International Airport
Kaohsiung Taiwan KHH RCKH Kaohsiung International Airport

Vanilla Air stated in February 2015 that they would suspend Seoul service from March, and were not considering any further route expansion.[10] Prior to this announcement, Vanilla Air had announced future service to Guam and Saipan at an unspecified date and in the longer term planned to offer long-haul service to Indonesia and the Philippines.[22]


The Vanilla Air fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of August 2017):[23]

Aircraft In fleet Passengers
Airbus A320-200 13 180[24]

Vanilla Air took delivery of its first A320 aircraft, JA01VA, on 14 November 2013. Its aircraft are equipped with CFM56 engines and are leased from AWAS to ANA Holdings.[25]


  1. ^ "Corporate Profile." (Archive) Vanilla Air. Retrieved on 19 January 2014. "Headquarters Narita International Airport 2PTB, Chiba, JAPAN" - Address in Japanese (Archive): "成田国際空港 第2旅客ターミナル内" (Narita International Airport, inside Passenger Terminal 2)
  2. ^ "ANA、LCCを一本化 エアアジアとの合弁解消へ". 日本経済新聞. June 10, 2013.
  3. ^ "LCC新社名「バニラ・エア」に エアアジア・ジャパン". 日本経済新聞. 20 August 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  4. ^ "AirAsia Japan rebranded 'Vanilla Air'". Agence-France Presse. 20 August 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  5. ^ "第2の拠点空港「中部を最優先」 LCCのバニラ・エア社長". 日本経済新聞. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  6. ^ "ANA、格安航空で攻勢 ハワイや台湾に観光路線". 日本経済新聞. 31 July 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  7. ^ "新LCCバニラ・エア、国際観光路線で巻き返し 2機体制の増強課題". 日本経済新聞. 2 September 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
  8. ^ "ANA系LCCバニラ・エア、「3年内に単年度黒字に」". 日本経済新聞. 21 August 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  9. ^ "ANA系格安航空、バニラ・エア就航 社名一新し再起". 日本経済新聞. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  10. ^ a b Kohase, Yusuke (2 February 2015). "バニラエア、ソウル線3月運休へ 新路線「現時点で計画なし」". Aviation Wire. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  11. ^ "Vanilla Air to leapfrog deeper into Asia via Taiwan". Nikkei Asian Review. 18 February 2016. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Japan carrier apologizes to disabled man over tarmac stairs". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  14. ^ "Peach Aviation and Vanilla Air Unite Together to become the leading LCC in Asia" (Press release). ANA. March 22, 2018.
  15. ^ "ANA and AirAsia to form ‘AirAsia Japan’." (Archive) All Nippon Airways. July 21, 2011. Retrieved on November 1, 2012. "Address: 1-5-2 Higashi Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo (plan)"
  16. ^ "Vanilla Air to give owner ANA a presence in abandoned markets while offering a hybrid model". CAPA Centre for Aviation. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  17. ^ Vanilla Air Timetable
  18. ^ Airlineroute [@Airlineroute] (13 September 2016). "Vanilla Air to launch Tokyo Narita – Cebu service from 25DEC16, 1 daily flight" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Vanilla Air Adds Taipei – Ho Chi Minh Service from Sep 2016". routesonline. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  21. ^ "Vanilla Air Adds Osaka – Taipei Service from late-April 2016". airlineroute. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  22. ^ Yoshikawa, Tadayuki (7 August 2014). "バニラエア、11月から香港、15年2月に高雄就航へ". Aviation Wire. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  23. ^ "Global Airline Guide 2017 (Part One)". Airliner World (October 2017): 18. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  24. ^
  25. ^ Yoshikawa, Tadayuki (14 November 2013). "バニラ・エア、白装束のA320初号機が成田到着". Aviation Wire. Retrieved 18 November 2013.

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