In a galaxy not so far away, passengers will soon be able to board a Star Wars-themed airplane to destinations around the globe. Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) began flights this week between Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (HND) and Vancouver International Airport (YVR) aboard a blue and white bedecked jet based on a brand new character from the upcoming film Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
In partnership with The Walt Disney Company and Lucasfilm Ltd., ANA designed the livery of the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft after BB-8, a droid that will make its official debut when the film is released in December 2015. Star Wars characters will also grace the inside of the plane, from headrest covers to paper napkins and cups. Plus, all six films from the franchise will play on in-flight entertainment systems—the first time such an offering has been provided.
“We’re excited to be involved in this collaboration with ANA, one of the world’s leading five-star airlines,” said Kayleen Walters, vice president of marketing for Lucasfilm Ltd. “We’re proud of the innovative R2-D2 design, and we look forward to witnessing the first-ever flight of a passenger aircraft featuring a Star Wars character. We’re confident that Star Wars fans around the world will absolutely love this design.”
The new aircraft will be joined by two R2-D2 planes, a Boeing 767-300 and a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Next month domestic Japanese routes will be offered, and by March 2016 service will extend to multiple destinations across the U.S. So far, Seattle and San Jose have been named as a future bases for the Star Wars aircrafts. ANA also plans to expand service to Munich, Paris, Brussels, Sydney, Beijing and Jakarta.
ANA’s film-themed planes are not the first to feature film or cartoon characters on its livery. Taipei-based Eva Airways introduced a regular fleet of Hello Kitty-branded aircrafts in 2005. And not far behind Star Wars is the recent announcement of Frozen-themed aircrafts from Canadian carrier WestJet Airlines.