It’s not exactly the Millennium Falcon or a Rebel Alliance X-Wing, but one arriving flight today at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) was a much-anticipated spectacle that attracted several hundred avid aviation enthusiasts and Star Wars fans.
On Sunday afternoon, R2-D2 got a ride from Tokyo to Vancouver on an All Nippon Airlines (ANA) Boeing 787-900 aircraft. Just after 2 p.m., an aircraft sporting R2-D2 livery completed its inaugural flight by landing at YVR.
A total of three ANA aircraft have been decorated with Star Wars-themed livery ahead of the December 18 release of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.
Another aircraft, a Boeing 777-300ER, will be painted with the BB-8 droid robot’s design and serve international destinations beginning in November. And shortly after, a third aircraft – a Boeing 767-300 – decorated with the franchise’s brand will also begin flying Japan’s domestic routes before serving international routes in the spring.
Even the passenger experience onboard these three planes is Star Wars-themed, including the headrest covers, paper napkins and cups. As well, the first six films in the Star Wars series is available for viewing on the in-flight entertainment system.
The R2-D2 aircraft that landed today was on its way to other destinations. It will serve Japan and other cities on ANA’s international network including Seattle, San Jose, Munich, Paris, Brussels, Sydney, Beijing and Indonesia.
But there is a chance that the aircraft could make a return to Vancouver sometime next spring to serve Vancouver regularly over a scheduled timeframe before it moves on to another city.
“So far, our main aircraft assigned [for Vancouver] are the 787-800, and under R2-D2 it is 787-900,”Yoshinori Matsuhashi, General Manager of ANA in Vancouver, told Vancity Buzz. “But after the coming spring – April, May or June – our flight will be changed to 787-900 so I think it’s possible that the Star Wars plane will be coming here frequently… after this coming April.”
ANA began its daily, non-stop service between Tokyo Haneda Airport in March 2014 with a Boeing 767-300 aircraft. On Canada Day earlier this year, the service’s aircraft switched to the newly acquired Boeing 787-800.