ANA & JAL Launching Vladivostok Flights

Filed Under: ANA, Japan Airlines

Apparently airlines copying one another isn’t limited to US airlines making negative frequent flyer program changes. 😉

Today both All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines have announced that they plan to launch nonstop flights between Tokyo Narita and Vladivostok, Russia, as of summer 2020.

The ANA and JAL press releases are both only in Japanese, but using Google Translate, it’s funny to see that they both make the claim that they’ll be the first Japanese airline to operate the route.

ANA’s press release says the following:

“We have decided to establish the first Japanese Airline Narita-Russia-Vladivostok Line.”

Japan Airlines’ press release says the following:

“It will be the first Japanese airline to enter the city of Vladivostok in the Far East Russia, and it will be the second JAL route in Russia.”

Eastern Russia has long fascinated me, and I’d love to visit at some point. This will also be a pretty short flight, as the distance between Tokyo and Vladivostok is ~685 miles.

Both airlines plan to use Boeing 737s for the route, though we’ll have to see for a finalized schedule to find out which airline is actually first to launch the route. I also wouldn’t put it past either airline to push forward the launch date in order to stay true to their promise of being the first Japanese airline operating the route.

Currently there are two Russian airlines flying between Vladivostok and Tokyo — S7 flies the route, as they’re the Russian oneworld airline, and Aurora Airlines, which is an Aeroflot subsidiary, also operates the route.

S7 Airlines flies between Vladivostok & Tokyo

The timing of these additions is interesting. It seems that the expansion is motivated by Japanese tourism in Eastern Russia, as well as increasing business and trade ties. Of course next summer we’re also seeing the Olympics in Tokyo.

I can’t imagine this route is motivated by the Olympics, but rather it seems that this is a route where they see long term potential, and the launch just coincides with the Olympics.

Has anyone been to Vladivostok? Is it worth a visit?

Comments
  1. Wonder if this creates some redemption values. Typically it costs fewer miles to fly to Europe than Asian from US. In this case, one can fly to Vladivostok using European chart and then fly to Japan with Avios.

  2. Russia and Japan have recently agreed on ease visa restrictions for Japanese citizens visiting Vladivostok.

  3. Eh, not really worth a visit.
    Go to Kamchatka or Baikal regions for that crazy nature or to Western Russia (a lot of beautiful cities) for culture.

  4. @Ben
    The ANA press release does not make any reference to the plane type to be used.

    Nor does ANA make any mention of the actual schedule. I guess they needed to get the press release out at the same time as JAL and had no time to plan the details.

  5. In 2012 my 2 friends and I took the Trans-Siberian railroad from Moscow to Vladivostok. Our original plan was to take the boat from Vladivostok to Japan via Korea, by the time we got our train tickets and tried to book the boat it was sold out and our visa was to expire before the next boat so the only option was to fly.

    We booked tickets on then was Vladivostok Air(now Aeroflot I think) and we had to connect thru Khabarovsk to Narita. We arrived in Vladivostok at 2am, after being on the train for 7 days(no showers) we wandered around the city looking for a hotel but came up empty handed(even the prostitute hotel wouldn’t take us). We ended up sleeping on the beach opposite side the train station until sun up. TBH I don’t remember the flight to Khabarovsk but we had another overnight layover in Khabarovsk with no hotel and we had been there 2 days before on the train(I hate backtracking). We slept on the banks of the Amur river, woke up the next day and flew to Narita. There was more crew than passengers from Khabarovsk to Narita.

    The coolest thing about Vladivostok and eastern Russia is the old Japanese right hand drive cars. Jalopnik did an article recently, pretty cool: https://jalopnik.com/why-right-hand-drive-cars-invaded-siberia-1833346633

  6. My wife is from Vladivostok and she said the city is described as the “San Francisco of the East”. It’s really hilly and has some beautiful architecture. Check out Russky Island as well with the impressive bridge. There is also some amazing scenery in the surrounding region and Kamchatka and other places are not too far (once you’re there). Apparently late August and September are the best times to visit.
    I can’t wait to go and now it will be much more seamless with ANA also launching flights to PER in a few months.

  7. It sounds like ANA will actually be first, since they are proposing to start the route in March while JAL says it will be added to their summer schedule. The actual starting dates are not decided yet, though.

  8. @Joe Jones
    Summer schedules for airlines start at the last weekend of March. Of JAL does not clearly say day one of the summer schedule, but it is a good bet that they both will start day one of summer schedule now.

    JAL has the advantage that they are already having a codeshare flight on the route, and are known in Russia as they operate to Moscow.

  9. @Jesper The ANA release says that the new flight will be added in March during their winter schedule.

  10. @Jackie – If hoping to use AA miles on JAL, for instance, it would not be possible to have a Europe-Europe award route via Asia due to restrictions on connecting in third regions. My reading of United’s rules however suggests that you should be able to book a Europe-Vladivostock via Tokyo for the price of an intra-europe flight.

    For instance LHR-NRT-VVO on NH. Then a very naughty person could engage in throwaway ticketing and disembark in NRT, not using the final leg to VVO to effectively get a trip to Asia for a steal.

    It would be less helpful from the US as North America-Europe redemptions aren’t generally that much cheaper than Asia…

    @Lucky – would be terrific if you could research this possibility.

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