Vanilla Air inaugural flight lands at Naha

Naha International Airport has another carrier providing service to Okinawa; Vanilla Air has been reborn as a low cost carrier connecting Narita International Airport with Taipei via Naha.

The first flight arrived this week, landing around 7 a.m. with 166 passengers on board.  As the plane, owned by All Nippon Airways Holdings Inc., left Tokyo, some 20 Vanilla Air employees provided the send-off.  The aircraft made the test flight to Naha, then returned to Narita to prepare for its inaugural flight from Tokyo to Okinawa to Taipei.

Vanilla Air was originally created as AirAsia Japan, an ANA joint venture with Malaysia’s AirAsia Bhd, last August.  The arrangement was short lived, as ANA and AirAsia parent company had differences on cost management, and the new airline suspended services in October.  Becoming a wholly-owned unit of ANA Holdings, the airline’s name was changed to Vanilla Air last month.

The airline will originate flights from Narita to two more airports early next year.   Sapporo goes on the route map January 1st, and flights from Tokyo to Seoul start on March 1st.