All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s largest five-star airline, is set to launch its first route to Russia in March 2020. The new route will open up the first-ever service from Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT) to Vladivostok International Airport.
Located just two and a half hours from Tokyo, Vladivostok, which Lonely Planet applauds as the unofficial capital of the Russian Far East, is growing into a vital economic hub for Japan-Russia trade. As such, it is becoming a common destination for business travelers. This new Narita-Vladivostok route is symbolic of the growing economic cooperation between Japan and Russia and is part of ANA’s overall strategy to increase its presence in the nation.
Meeting customer demand
Ticket reservations and sales launched earlier this week. If our recent coverage on ANA is anything to go by – from their customer-designed menu approach to being the first carrier to offer customers self-service baggage drops in Tokyo – the world-class airline knows what its customers want; has invested in aircraft, and is ready to deliver.
Speaking of the new Narita-Vladivostok route, Seiichi Takahashi, Senior Vice President of ANA said in a press release,
“At ANA, we aim to serve as a gateway for our passengers that allow them to reach new destinations and connect with new cultures. Our desire to offer unrivaled service and meet emerging passenger needs led us to begin service to Vladivostok.”
ANA will use an Airbus 320neo on the run. The aircraft has 146 seats split across business and economy cabins. The airline’s first route to Russia will launch on 16 March 2020 with daytime flights operating twice a week on Mondays and Fridays.
From 29 March onwards, the Monday flight will see ANA pushing back from the gate at Tokyo Narita at 1.35pm and landing in Vladivostok International Airport at 4.50pm. With just over a three-hour turnaround, the Narita-bound Airbus will leave Vladivostok at 7.10pm to arrive in Tokyo at 8.20pm.
The Friday flight will see the ANA aircraft depart Narita at 12.30pm and touch down in Vladivostok at 3.30pm. With another short turnaround, the return service will depart Vladivostok at 6pm and land in Narita at 7.10pm.
The future of Vladivostok
The location of Vladivostok, in the extreme southeast of Russia, ensured that the city played a significant role as a port and naval base over the years. The city, located on the western side of a peninsula that separates Amur and Ussuri bays on the Sea of Japan is also known as a railway city and runs along the renowned Trans-Siberian Railroad.
It is only since the 1990’s that the city has opened up to foreign shipping and other contacts. The fact that Vladivostok International Airport is now opening up to new routes and accepting the first-ever service from Tokyo Narita is demonstrative of what the Chairman of Dezan Shira & Associates, a regional consulting firm, Chris Devonshire-Ellis describes as Putin’s plans to develop Vladivostok as a strategic hub within North-East Asia.