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VAX-2014-12 - STARTS OPERATIONS.jpg
VAX-2015-08 - Taipei to Busan.jpg
VAX-2015-12 - Taipei to Nagoya Japan.jpg
VAX-2016-02 - Taipei to Osaka.jpg
Founded and started operations in 2014. Subsidiary of TransAsia Airways (FSH). Domestic & regional, & international, scheduled & charter, passenger & cargo jet airplane services.
9F, 139 CHENG-CHOU RD
TAIPEI 103, TAIWAN
TAIWAN (REPUBLIC OF CHINA) WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1949, IT IS AN ISLAND COVERING AN AREA OF 36,179 SQ KM, ITS POPULATION IS 21.5 MILLION, ITS CAPITAL CITY IS TAIPEI, AND ITS OFFICIAL LANGUAGE IS CHINESE.
February 2014: TransAsia Airways (FSH) is scheduled to launch its budget carrier, V Air (VAX), in September at the earliest, eyeing regions with "open-skies" agreements with Taiwan, as well as destinations with adequate market size for both full-service and low-cost carriers (LCC)s, such as Japan's Tokyo and Osaka, and Thailand's Bangkok.
Following the launch of V Air (VAX), TransAsia (FSH) plans to focus on expanding its flight services to second-tier cities in Japan, such as Fukuoka, Nagoya and Ibaraki.
V Air (VAX) plans to recruit 80 flight attendants (CA) in preparation for its inauguration.
August 2014: See video "VISIT THAILAND - -
October 2014: See video "V AIR FIRST FLIGHT" - -
December 2014: News Item A-1: Taiwan’s oldest established airline, TransAsia Airways (FSH), is expanding operations with the launch of a new low-cost carrier (LCC) called V Air (VAX).
V Air (VAX) is due to start operations later this month, and will fly initially using 194-seat Airbus A321s to Chiang Mai and Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport from Taiwan’s Taoyuan International. (VAX) plans to extend its route network in coming months to cover Cambodia, Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong.
TransAsia (FSH) operates a 21 airplane fleet, including Airbus A330-300s, A320s and ATR turboprops, mainly to secondary hub international destinations across Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
News Item A-2: V Air (VAX) (a subsidiary of TransAsia Airways (FSH)) (Taipei) on December 17 launched schedule low-fare operations. The first route was from Taipei (Taoyuan) (TPE) to Bangkok Don Mueang Airport (DMK) using a 194-seat A321-200 (6009, B-22608). The new airline will compete with Tigerair Taiwan (TTW). The second route to Chiang Mai, Thailand is scheduled to start in early January.
For its Taipei - Chiang Mai route, V Air (VAX) will operate seven flights a week in January 2015, increasing up to 11 a week in February and March before cutting back to four a week in April. (VAX) will compete directly on both routes with TigerAir Taiwan (TTW) (a joint venture (JV) between Taiwan's China Airlines (CHI) and Singapore's Tiger Airlines (TGR)).
TigerAir Taiwan (TTW), which only only took to the skies in September with services from Taipei to Singapore Changi Airport, became Taiwan's first new airline in more than two decades. V Air (VAX) will also contest the Bangkok route with its parent, TransAsia (FSH) but (FSH) will drop its Chiang Mai service when (VAX) starts flying to Thailand's northern capital. Introductory prices for the one-way trip on the maiden flight start at NT$1,988/2,100 BAHT.
V Air (VAX) currently operates the single airplane the A321-200 (6009, B22608), but plans to end 2015 with a minimum of five airplanes, with plans to expand the fleet by at least two or three airplanes every year. (VAX) aims to expand its network to cover Japanese and South Korean destinations by the first quarter of next year. It also plans to operate scheduled services from Taiwan to cities in Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia with a four-hour flying time radius.
(VAX)'s flights to Thailand are expected to expedite a revival in Taiwanese tourist traffic, which has already been helped by a visa-free waiver for Taiwanese citizens over a three month period to November 7th. Figures from the Tourism Authority of Thailand showed that Taiwanese arrivals dropped by -30% in the first nine months to 275,000 due largely to local political, government military turmoil. Overall international visitor arrivals at that time slipped by -10.3%.
(IATA) Code: ZV. (ICAO) Code: VAX - (Callsign - VANTAGE).
Main Base: Taiwan Taoyuan Airport (TPE).
+ Bangkok - Don Mueang International Airport
+ Chiang Mai - Chiang Mai International Airport (begins January 7th 2015)
+ Siem Reap - Angkor International Airport Charter (begins January 6th 2015)
+ Tokyo - Narita International Airport (Future)
+ Nagoya - Chūbu Centrair International Airport (Future)
+ Fukuoka - Fukuoka Airport (Future)
+ Busan - Gimhae International Airport (Future)
* Hong Kong
+ Hong Kong - Hong Kong International Airport (Future)
+ Kuala Lumpur - Kuala Lumpur International Airport (Future)
See video "V AIR FIRST A321-200" - -
March 2015: Taiwan can expect a fast-growing, low-cost carrier (LCC) sector, although it currently remains a minor player in the region's aviation market. Compared with the (LCC)'s global market share of 28%, Taiwan had a small penetration at only 6% as of last year, but has potential.
Taiwan may surpass its neighboring countries in Northeast Asia in terms of (LCC) development. Continuous liberalization of the market and development of cross-Taiwan Strait flights could put Taiwan at an advantage. For instance, the number of nonstop flights allowed between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait (currently 828 per week) has not been met. At the moment, there are around 700 flights operating across the strait, and the remaining room for more flights suggests a positive market perspective.
There are currently 16 budget airlines operating in Taiwan, including two local carriers that were established late last year.
Tigerair Taiwan (TTW), a budget airline joint venture (JV) between Taiwan's China Airlines (CHI) and Singapore's Tiger Airways (TGR), got off the ground September 26 with an inaugural flight to Singapore.
V Air (VAX), a low-cost carrier (LCC) unit of Taiwan's TransAsia Airways (FSH), began service on December 17 with a maiden flight to Bangkok.
The two airlines, which mainly cover destinations in Southeast Asia, have recorded an average load factor of around 80% LF and they plan to add Japan to their list of destinations later this year.
August 2015: V Air (VAX), the low cost carrier (LCC) launched by TransAsia Airways (FSH) last December, on August 15 began flying twice-weekly (Mondays and Fridays) between Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) and Busan (PUS) in South Korea. The 1,344 km route will be flown by (VAX)’s A321s and faces direct competition from Air Busan (ABN) and Jeju Airlines (JJA) (both operating daily flights) and China Airlines (CHI) (six weekly flights). V Air (VAX)’s (CEO), Ms Eleni Lung, said: “V Air (VAX) is the first Taiwan low-fare carrier stepping into the Korean market. Especially, Busan is our first destination in North East Asia. We are very optimistic about the new service, and aim to increase the flight frequency in order to offer passengers a larger flexibility for travel arrangements.” (VAX)'s only other routes at present are to Bangkok and Chiang Mai in Thailand.
September 2015: V Air (VAX) began 2x-weekly, Taipei - Busan A321 service.
December 2015: V Air (VAX) has launched its first service from Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) to Nagoya (NGO) in Japan. The 1,849 km route will initially be flown 4x-weekly by (VAX)’s 194Y-seat A321s, before frequency increases to daily from March 1, 2016. The inaugural flight to Taipei on December 15 carried 162 passengers resulting in a load factor of 84% LF. Competition on the route comes from China Airlines (CHI) (11 weekly flights), Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT) and Japan Airlines (JAL) (both daily flights) and Jetstar Japan (JJP) (4x-weekly flights). V Air (VAX), which is a fully-owned subsidiary of TransAsia Airways (FSH), celebrated its first anniversary on December 17, and now serves a total of four destinations from its Taipei base. Apart from Nagoya, (VAX)’s other routes are to Bangkok and Chiang Mai in Thailand and Busan in South Korea. Two more new routes to Fukuoka and Osaka in Japan are scheduled to start in early 2016.
January 2016: V Air (VAX), the low-cost carrier (LCC) subsidiary of Taiwan’s TransAsia Airways (FSH), has launched two new routes to Japan from its Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) base. On January 23 it began daily flights on the 1,703 km route to Osaka Kansai (KIX), an airport pair that is already served by nine (yes nine!) other carriers; China Airlines (CHI) and (EVA) Air (4x-daily flights each), Peach Aviation (PCH) (three daily flights), Japan Airlines (JAL) and TransAsia Airways (FSH) (each with 2x-daily flights), Jetstar Asia (9x-weekly flights), Tigerair Taiwan (TTW) (8x-weekly flights), and Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT) and Jetstar Japan (each with daily flights). Then, on January 25, V Air (VAX) began daily flights on the 1,300 km route to Fukuoka (FUK). This is a much less competitive route, with only four carriers already serving this market; China Airlines (CHI) (2x-daily flights), Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT) and (EVA) Air (daily flights), and Tigerair Taiwan (TTW) (4x-weekly flights). Both routes will be operated by (VAX)’s small fleet of A320-series aircraft.
March 2016: News Item A-1: V Air (VAX) has begun 3x-weekly A320 flights on the 2,121 km route between Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) and Tokyo Haneda (HND). The airport pair is already served by Peach Aviation (daily flights) and Tigerair Taiwan (TTW) (with 4x-weekly flights). In addition, there are 11 (yes, 11) carriers operating a total of 17x-day between Taipei Taoyuan and Tokyo Narita. There were 137 passengers on V Air (VAX)’s inaugural flight, resulting in a load factor of over >70% LF. This becomes the low cost carrier (LCC)s seventh route in all and 4th to Japan, with +2 more routes (to Ibaraki and Manila) scheduled to launch before the end of March.
According to (VAX) it has carried over >250,000 passengers since its first route launched in late 2014. This new service departs Taiwan at 22:00 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, arriving in Tokyo the following morning at 02:00. Return flights depart Japan at 03:00 on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays getting back into Taipei at around 06:00 the same day.
News Item A-2: V Air (VAX), the first Taiwan-based airlines that offers Taipei Taoyuan - Ibaraki service, made its maiden flight on March 15, registering a load factor of 90% LF full. "Ibaraki is a secondary city which is just 65 minutes away from Tokyo the fastest, and owing abundance tourist resources. We believe the destination can attract young generation and backpackers," V Air (VAX) (CEO), Eleni Lung commented.
To mark this inaugural flight, celebrations are arranged in both Taoyuan and Ibaraki Airport. The marching band performed at the Ibaraki airport apron, alongside with local mascot characters to welcome the first herd of guests from Taiwan.
Ibaraki is the second largest agricultural prefecture in Japan, with abundant gourmet as well as attractions. Kairakuen garden, one of the three greatest gardens of Japan, is famous for its plum blossoms; Hitachi Seaside park, which features vast flower gardens including millions of daffodils, 170 varieties of tulips, and 4.5 million baby blue eye flowers. On top of that, visitors will also find Ryujin Big Suspension Bridge and Fukuroda Falls worth a visit. On the other hand, Ibaraki also servers the best honeydew, pears, Japanese soba noodles, Wagyu beef and anglerfish in the nation, never leave without trying those gourmet when visiting Ibaraki.
(VAX)'s Taipei - Ibaraki service operates every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Flight ZV240 departs from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 7:00 am and estimated time arrival in Ibaraki at 11:10 am. The returning flight ZV241 departs at 12:10 pm from Ibaraki Airport, and estimated arrival Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 2:35 pm (all time shown in local time).
News Item A-3: V Air (VAX) launched its first Taipei- Manila route at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
The maiden flight took off with over >80% LF load factor from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, and marks another expansion in its network for this year.
The Manila - Taipei service, (VAX)'s third route in Asia, will operate 4x-weekly, every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Travel to and from both cities is estimated at two hours flying time.
April 2016: News Item A-1: "V Air Increases Filipino Schedules"
by (ATW) Jeremy Torr, April 8, 2016.
V Air (VAX) is looking to extend its network with more routes and schedules to Filipino destinations. (VAX) will use Airbus A320 aircraft in a 180Y-seat configuration for initial flights.
(VAX), an offshoot of Taiwanese carrier TransAsia Airways (FSH), introduced a new 4x-weekly schedule from its base at Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport to Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International in March. (VAX) said it intends to upgrade its service to a daily schedule by the end of 2016, and has also slated other tourist destinations such as Cebu, Kalibo, and Puerto Princesa as potential destinations.
V Air (VAX) said it wants to add the new schedules by next year, following aviation authority approval.
(VAX) is aiming at the adventurous youth traveler market, and extending its reach to beach resorts such as Kalibo and Cebu offers a “tourism, business, shopping” combination that suits the younger 18 to 40 year old market, it said.
The only other low cost carrier (LCC) operating the Manila - Taipei route is Cebu Pacific (CEB), although full-service airlines including China Airlines (CHI), (EVA) Air, and Philippine Airlines (PAL) serve the route.
(VAX), which started business in 2014, has said it will “expand operations [with] scheduled services from Taiwan to cities in Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia within a four-hour radius.”
As of April, it offers flights from Taiwan to Bangkok and Chang Mai in Thailand, Nagoya, Osaka, Fukuoka, Tokyo, and Ibaraki in Japan, and Busan in Korea using a fleet of four Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft.
June 2016: "Value Alliance: the Hubs, Focus Airports and Routes Where Alliance Members Might Gain Synergies", by (CAPA), June 20,2016.
Since the Value Alliance was announced in May 2016 as the second low cost carrier (LCC) alliance, there has been industry interest about how and where the alliance can deliver synergies. The nine initial members of the Value Alliance include Cebu Pacific (CEB), Cebgo (SRQ), Jeju Air (JJA), Nok Air (NKA), NokScoot (NSC), Scoot (SCT), Tigerair Singapore (TGR), Tigerair Australia (TAU) and Vanilla Air (VNL).
Tokyo Narita is the alliance hub with more service from Value members (five) than any other. But Asia's most popular airports for Value members are not where the alliance has a local member: Taipei and Hong Kong.
In terms of frequency, Manila and Bangkok Don Mueang have the most Value flights, reflecting their local membership there. The local Value member based at an airport typically dominates the hub, accounting for over >90% of Value flights. That creates a strong feed network for other members but also (potentially) competition that may be too strong. Members overlap on only six routes so far and their combined frequency gives them a scale advantage against non-Value (LCC)s. Although it is premature to evaluate the effectiveness of the alliance (new members will join and existing members will grow) this analysis looks at where there are network opportunities for cooperation.
* Airports most frequented by Value Alliance are not member hubs.
There are services from three or more members of the Value Alliance at 15 airports in Asia. This includes Tigerair (TGR) and Scoot (SCT), which have the same ownership, but excludes Cebu (CEB) and Cebgo (SRQ), since (CEB) owns (SRQ). (TGR) and (SCT) are expected to merge, with only one brand surviving.
Five airports have services from four or more alliance members. The two most popular airports (Taipei Taoyuan (6) and Hong Kong (5)) are not local hubs for the Value Alliance. Three airports have services from four Value members: Hanoi, Osaka Kansai, and Tokyo Narita. Only Tokyo Narita is a Value hub (served by Vanilla Air (VNL)), although Osaka Kansai is a growing focal point for (VNL) and in time, will likely become a hub.
Taipei is home to two (LCC)s – Tigerair Taiwan (TTW) and V Air (VAX) (but neither is a member of Value (or of U-FLY)). Tigerair Taiwan (TTW) is 10% owned by the Tigerair Holdings but is not a member, and is expected to be wholly under control of the China Airlines (BEJ) Group, once the expected Tigerair (TGR)/Scoot (SCT) merger occurs. V Air (VAX) is owned by TransAsia (FSH) and has no partnership affiliations. TransAsia (FSH), a full service regional airline, is not a member of a global alliance.
It is not without coincidence that the most commonly served airports are in Northeast Asia. Taipei and Hong Kong are accessible from both Southeast Asia and northern Northeast Asia with narrow body aircraft, making the two airports accessible for all members. Only Jin Air (JIN) (not an alliance member) is a Northeast Asian wide body (LCC) operator, so Northeast Asia’s (LCC)s are restricted from flying deep into Southeast Asia.
In contrast, Southeast Asia has three wide body (LCC) operators that are belong to an alliance: Scoot (SCT), NokScoot (NSC) and Cebu (CEB). Cebu (CEB) can access Northeast Asia with narrow body aircraft, although it sometimes uses wide body aircraft on trunk/congested routes. There are services from three Value members at 10 airports, and all but three are Value member hubs.
* Measured by frequency, most services are at Value alliance member hubs.
This analysis next looks at the largest airports in the Value Alliance based on weekly frequencies. This analysis comprises the 21 largest airports (the 20th and 21st largest have the same number of frequencies). The six largest airports are all member hubs.
The four largest (Manila, Bangkok (DMK), Singapore, and Cebu) are significantly larger than the rest. Of the 10 largest airports based on member frequency, only two (Hong Kong and Taipei Taoyuan) are not member hubs.
* Largest Value Alliance airports are dominated by their members.
13 of the region's largest airports have more than >7 daily flights from alliance members. Each is dominated by its local alliance member. At the two largest (Manila and Bangkok (DMK)) the local alliance hub member operates 98% and 94% of all flights by the alliance. In other words, of all Value flights at Manila, Cebu (CEB) operates 98% at Manila, while NokScoot (NSC) and Nok (NKA) operate 94% of all Value flights at Bangkok (DMK).
A Value Alliance Member typically accounts for over 90% of alliance flights at its home. Four airports are around the 80% mark, while there is no Value Alliance member operating flights at Bangkok (BKK) (they instead operate out of Bangkok (DMK)).
* Value Alliance members overlap on six routes.
There is a possibility that the Value Alliance could help (LCC)s gain scale on routes, especially where due to infrastructure constraints ( slots, air traffic, bilaterals) organic growth may not be an option.
In the week commencing Jun12, 2016 the Value Alliance members overlap on only six routes. This excludes overlap only between Scoot (SCT)/Tigerair (TGR) (owned by the same company and expected to be merged) and Cebu (CEB)/Cebgo (SRQ) (Cebu (CEB) owns Cebgo (SRQ)). (CEB) has the most overlap (four routes) followed by Jeju (JJA) (three), Tigerair (TGR) and Scoot (SCT) (two) and then Vanilla Air (VNL) (one).
No route has more than >2 operators. The frequency split varies between relatively even and lopsided. As this analysis is focused on the opportunity to offer more flights, frequency (not seats) is considered. The use of wide bodies at Scoot (SCT), and sometimes Cebu (CEB), would alter a capacity share analysis.
* Value Alliance opportunity to link Northeast Asia with Southeast Asia.
The geography of east Asia means that (LCC)s cannot serve the entire region with existing narrow body technology, although (LCC)s in some markets can come close. The final analysis in this report considers the ability of the Value Alliance to link Northeast Asia with Southeast Asia, and vice versa.
Six of the members have routes between Northeast and Southeast Asia. Vanilla Air (VNL) operates wholly within Northeast Asia but is examining a Taipei base to use fifth freedom rights to fly to Southeast Asia. Cebu Pacific (CEB) has the greatest number of flights between Northeast and Southeast Asia. This is probably unsurprising given the Philippines' geographical position, which is more between the regions. Tigerair (TGR) and Scoot (SCT) have approximately 10 routes between the regions.
Evaluating the opportunity is complex: routes are often to points where there is no service from another Value member, or there is limited frequency, and it may not enable a same-day connection, or a connection within reason. Some connections would be circuitous. But as noted earlier, it is too soon to evaluate the opportunity for the alliance.
* Outlook: long haul operator, member with central geography, could bring opportunity but also competition.
The Value Alliance faces the same conundrum as full service alliances: adding members brings opportunities but also competition. A member that is more central between the regions (such as in Hong Kong or Taiwan) could enable more links and connection opportunities.
Alternatively, that member may prefer to serve points on its own. (As (CAPA) has previously recorded, some Value members are expected to work with HK Express outside the (LCC) alliance organizations). More long haul operations could mean that an airline gains access to the strong regional hub of a partner in a different part of Asia. Alternatively, this could preclude cooperation between other members.
The opportunities for the Value members today are varied, but they do exist. With time, the synergies within the alliance should become greater. Most critically, this is all being developed with minimal cost, unlike the high joining and membership fees of full service alliances. While the gains may not seem as significant, neither are the costs.
Conclusion: As (CAPA) has previously concluded of the alliance:
* Joining the Value Alliance should be an appealing option for Asia’s independent (LCC)s since the cost and risk of membership are small. At the May 16, 2016 launch event, executives representing the founding members stressed that the concept is to add incremental passengers without incurring additional cost or adding any complexities. The members said that they would not have joined, if they had not been able to retain their business models.
* The main objective is for each member to increase their brand awareness across Asia-Pacific. The main objective is for each member to increase their brand awareness across Asia-Pacific and augment their distribution network through cross-selling. The alliance members pointed out that most of their brands are not well known outside their respective home markets.
* The members expect that the alliance will only generate a small increase in their interline traffic volumes (at least in the initial phase).
* Interline traffic for most members is a very small part of their overall business (for some it has even been non-existent) and most members do not expect that interline traffic will ever account for a large share of their overall traffic.
* The Value Alliance essentially offers its members a nothing-to-lose alternative for attempting to increase transit traffic and attract passengers in new markets who are now flying with other airlines. Even if the alliance only brings each member a +1% incremental gain in passenger traffic, it can be deemed a success, given the limited cost and the simplicity of the new offering.
* Asia’s independent (LCC)s need to evolve and embrace new alternatives if they are to maintain their growth trajectory and succeed in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
July 2016: V Air (VAX) began 3x-weekly Taipei - Okinawa service.
November 2016: Taiwan's TransAsia Airways (FSH) will suspend all flights tomorrow, Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) confirmed on November 21.
The Taipei-based carrier suddenly decided to ground all domestic and international flights without any notification, which may face a punishment of NT$600,000 to NT$3 million, the (CAA) said.
TransAsia (FSH) posted a net loss of -NT$951 million, 3x- higher than the -NT$301 million loss from the previous corresponding period. It has been loss-making in 3 consecutive quarters, with its business badly impacted since its 2 turboprop crashes in the last 2 years.
(FSH)'s low-cost carrier (LCC) subsidiary V Air (VAX) ended all flight operations on October 1, 2016, as (VAX) had accumulated net losses of >NT$1.1 billion since it began operations in December 2014.