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Japanese Budget Airline Opens Routes to Tokyo, Osaka and Okinawa

Budget carrier Vanilla Air now flies between Saigon and three Japanese destinations: Tokyo, Okinawa and Osaka.

The low-cost airline, which is owned by ANA Holdings, launched its daily return service between the southern hub and the three Japanese locations last Thursday, reports VnExpress.

At a press conference, Vanilla Air’s deputy general director Mio Yamamuro told reporters the airline chose Saigon as its first Southeast Asian destination due to a recent boom in international travel between the southern city and several destinations in both Taiwan and Japan.

Vanilla Air also plans to launch a daily service between Tokyo and the Philippines' Cebu this December and is eyeing Singapore and Thailand as potential markets as it expands further into the region.

All flights between Saigon and the three Japanese destinations travel via Taipei, with a one-hour layover between flights. According to Nikkei Asian Review, this makes Vanilla Air the first low-cost carrier in Japan to gain “beyond rights”, or permission to fly between two airports outside its home country.

Things have been looking up for the young airline, which was founded in 2013. Vanilla Air ended the 2015 fiscal year with a profit of 1.5 billion yen (US$13.15 million) compared to a loss of 3.7 billion yen (US$32.44 million) in 2014.

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