Peach aviation and Vanilla aviation are budget carriers based in Japan. The kawaii-ness in the name already allow them to stand out from other budget airlines therefore many travelers choose to fly them. Recently, All Nippon Airways (ANA) announced that Vanilla will stop operating in October and merge with Peach Aviation. Is two going to be better than one?
Peach aviation was the most successful budget airline during their first year of operation in 2012. People argue that Peach’s 24-hour operation and exclusive terminal at Kansai Airport were the reasons for its success.
Peach aviation is a joint venture between All Nippon Airways and the First Eastern Investment Group. The airline has two named aircrafts. Their first A320 was named Peach Dream. Following a contest which sixty elementary school students from the Tohoku region submitted proposals, the tenth A320 was named Wing of Tohoku.
On 28 April 2014, Peach had their first accident. According to their press release that day, at around 11:47 am, one of their plane flying from Ishigaki to Naha Airport flew below normal approach when the plane was approaching Naha Airport for landing. The press release noted that there were no injury and they would “fully cooperate with Japan Transport Safety Board and implement necessary measures for preventing similar cases. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) has judged this case as a serious incident and the Japan Transport Safety Board will investigate detail of cause.
On that day, four flights were cancelled due to inspection of the concerned aircraft, said the statement.
According to other sources, the incident was cause because the pilot misunderstood the instructions from the air traffic control. However, the aircraft’s ground proximity warning system alerted the pilot to the low altitude and it landed safely at Naha. In the past seven years, this was the only major incident that occurred to Peach airline.
Vanilla Air is now wholly owned by the same company as Peach in Japan and will soon cease to operate starting in October. The company was previously owned by AirAsia.
In 2013, when the airline had their first flight from Narita to Okinawa and Taipei, the company introduced the “Vaniller’s Pass”, which is a one month pass good for travel on its Tokyo-Anami route. The pass successfully encouraged more travelers and eased the burden for family to travel within the route.
In 2017, Vanilla Air had a scandal about forcing wheelchair user to crawl up a set of stirs to board the plane.
According to an article by BBC news, a passenger named Hideto Kijima who is paralyzed from the waist down, was told by the airline’s employee that “he would not be allowed to board if he could not climb the stairs without assistance” for safety reasons.
Forced by the experience, Kijima left his wheelchair and climbed up the stairs with his arms.
Kijima has been to more than 200 airports in 158 countries since he was paralyzed in 1990 from a school rugby accident. However, he mentioned that wherever facilities were not available for mobility disabled passenger in the past, he relied help from friends or staff member.
Vanilla Air apologized for the incident and announced new measures to aid wheelchair users at the airport. According to the same article, the company’s website now says that while it cannot provide a boarding bridge at Amami airport, it will now provide a special chair for the purpose.
Vanilla Air will stop operating, instead the company decided to merge the two carriers as one. For people who collects Vanilla Air points can now exchange for Peach Point.
Moreover, Vanilla Air also announced it withdrawal from Value Alliance, which is a partnership of some East, South-East Asian and Australians LCCs.
How will the merge change the two company? We will after October.