Pokémon Planes Brought Back By Japan’s Solaseed Air

If you’re heading to Japan soon, you might find yourself flying on a Pokémon plane. Pokemon liveries haven’t been seen since 2016, but now they are back. Japanese carrier Solaseed Air debuted its new Pokémon livery earlier this month, and the plane is now in the skies above Japan. And it might not be alone…

Solaseed pokemon plane
Solaseed is bringing back the Pokémon plane with this special livery. Photo: 2020 Pokémon.

Exeggutor onboard

Solaseed’s Boeing 737, registered JA812X, has a colorful new livery. The mainly green fuselage features the Pokémon character Exeggutor. The cheeky character is part of a tourism collaboration between Japan’s tourist board and the Pokémon company.

According to CNN, each region in Japan has been assigned a Pokémon character. Solaseed, which is based on the island of Kyushu, is represented by Exeggutor. The little tree-like character resembles the phoenix palm trees, which are native to the island.

Because of the collaboration, Solaseed has the license to feature the Pokémon character on its livery for the next 18 months. And Exeggutor isn’t just outside, each seat has Exeggutor headrests, and some passengers traveling with the airlines also received a promotional swag bag with Exeggutor goodies. Exeggutor also features on local buses across the major cities in the area and throughout the region’s airports.

Solaseed pokemon plane interior
The Exeggator features heavily on the plane’s interior design as well as the external livery. Photo: 2020 Pokémon.

Could we see more Pokemon?

While Exeggutor is currently the only Pokémon to be in the skies, we may see more soon. Different regions have different Pokémon, so other airlines may also launch Pokémon livery soon. The island of Hokkaido has the Alolan Vulpix, while Fukushima has the pink Chansey. Tottori has Sandshrew, Kagawa has Slowpoke, Miyagi has the blue Lapras, and Iwate has Geodude. Will you catch’em all?

This isn’t the first time Pokémon have been flying around the world. All Nippon Airlines (ANA) used to have several Pokémon jets in its fleet. The promotional livery first appeared in 1998 as a tie in to the release of the first Pokémon film. The airline had several over the years, which were very popular but the final Pokémon Jet retired in April 2016.

Pokemon plane bus
The pokemon characters also feature on buses and at major tourist destinations in Japan. Photo: 2020 Pokémon.

Special livery

But although ANA no longer flies any Pokémon jets, it still operates three Star Wars liveries based on the beloved sci-fi characters. And it isn’t just Japan’s carrier that loves a character livery. Thai Smile has a livery featuring several characters from the Cartoon Network. And Taiwanese carrier Eva Air celebrated its 40th birthday with a rather cute Hello Kitty livery. The popular cartoon cat also features in the airline’s airport lounges, on the headrests, on pillows and pens.

ANA Star Wars C3PO plane
Special liveries are very popular and have been featured for several decades. Photo: Getty Images

China Eastern Airlines has a Buzz Lightyear livery from the popular Toy Story franchise, and the now obsolete Western Pacific Airlines used to have a rather bright Simpson’s aircraft. But it isn’t just cartoon characters that feature on planes; brands like Pepsi and Haribo have also had some time on the side of planes.

Special liveries go back decades and can either become very popular or can garner a lot of displeasure. However, a range of Pokémon characters in the skies above Japan will no doubt be very popular.

We’d love to hear which is your favorite special livery. Have you flown on one of the Star Wars planes? Or perhaps the Simpsons jet? Let us know in the comments.