Low-cost carrier Vanilla Air will continue to focus on growing its international route network, and could even push into Southeast Asia and Mainland China in future.
The airline, which arose out of the ashes of AirAsia Japan in December 2013, now flies from Narita to Seoul Incheon and Taipei. Next year it will start services to Hong Kong and Kaohsiung. Domestically, it flies to Okinawa, Chitose and Amami Oshima.
Speaking to Flightglobal in an interview at the airline’s Narita base, president Tomonori Ishii says that the airline sees its greatest opportunity to expand is on domestic routes.
“Some 70% of our revenue comes from international passengers and 30% from domestic,” he says.
Ishii says that the airline has benefited from strong inbound demand to Japan.
“In August we had double daily flights to Taipei, and almost 80% of our revenue on the route came from Taiwanese passengers,” he says.
Ishii adds that the airline doesn’t have any plans to add more domestic services, but could add Manila and Micronesia to its network in the short term. The latter, however, would depend on the outbound market from Japan, which he says is currently in a state of decline.
We plan in the near future not only the short range international but also the mid-range, including Hawaii, Bangkok , Singapore and also mainland China,” says Ishii. “If we should cover such destinations we may need more long range aircraft.”
He adds that an alternative may be to open another base in Okinawa, which would allow the airline better access to Southeast Asia using its Airbus A320s.
Ishii says that there is no timetable on when it could open a second base or add longer-range aircraft, and both options remain some time off.
Flightglobal's Ascend Fleets database shows that Vanilla Air has six A320s in its fleet, and will add a further four by the end of March 2015.
Source: Cirium Dashboard