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ANA Picks Vanilla for New Japan Budget Flier From 200 Names

AirAsia Japan President Tomonori Ishii
Tomonori Ishii, president of AirAsia Japan, speaks during a news conference in Tokyo on Aug, 20, 2013. Photographer: Haruyoshi Yamaguchi/Bloomberg

After spending a month and a half sifting through 200 names for its new budget airline, Japan’s ANA Holdings Inc. decided on the plainest one: Vanilla Air.

“Vanilla is loved by everyone in the world,” Tomonori Ishii, president of the new airline based at Narita Airport, Japan, told reporters in Tokyo today. “The smell of vanilla makes people relaxed.”

ANA, Japan’s second-largest airline by sales, is rebranding its low-cost carrier after a venture with Sepang, Malaysia-based AirAsia Bhd. dissolved in June over disagreements on how to run the company. ANA took over AirAsia Japan Co. and plans to start operations before the end of the year, Ishii said.

The new airline and ANA hired “several” agencies to come up with a list of brands, before a decision was made by Ishii and ANA executives, said Kumiko Imai, a spokeswoman at AirAsia Japan. She declined to provide the other name choices.

AirAsia Japan, which began operations in August, has five domestic services. It also flies to Seoul and Busan in South Korea. The carrier planned to add flights to Taiwan next month and was considering another overseas flight before the end of March as it more than doubled its fleet to nine planes from four.

Other low-cost carriers around the world include Mango Airlines SOC Ltd. in South Africa and SpiceJet Ltd. in India. ANA also holds a 39 percent stake in another Japanese budget airline called Peach Aviation.

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