Japan AirAsia to be rebranded as Vanilla Air

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Japan AirAsia will be rebranded as Vanilla Air after the joint venture between All Nippon Airways (ANA) and AirAsia winds down on 31 October.

The carrier's official launch will take place on 1 November, and it plans to operate its first flight by the end of December, says an ANA spokesman.

Vanilla Air will commence operations with a fleet of two Airbus A320s, increasing to five by the end of March 2014. It plans to have 10 A320s by the end of March 2016.

The carrier will continue to be based at Tokyo Narita airport with a second hub in Nagoya, which were the same bases used by Japan AirAsia. It will operate on leisure-oriented domestic and international services, with its core business segment focused on routes of 4-4.5h out of Japan.

The airline will make an announcement on its destinations at the end of September, the spokesman adds.

In June, ANA and AirAsia announced that they will dissolve their Japan AirAsia joint venture on 31 October, following a series of disagreements between the two airlines over the direction of the low-cost carrier. As part of that decision, ANA agreed to pay yen (Y) 2.45 billion ($25 million) to buy out AirAsia's 49% stake in Japan AirAsia.

As a result of dissolving the joint venture, two A320s will be returned to AirAsia, leaving it with three aircraft until Japan AirAsia ceases operations.

ANA also has a 33% stake in Osaka-based low-cost carrier Peach Aviation.