Today the newest Pikachu Jet, operated by the airline ANA (All Nippon Airways) has taken off for the first time on a paying passenger-carrying flight from Tokyo Haneda airport, and at the moment of this writing, it's flying over the Ryukyu Islands headed to Bangkok in Thailand.
It's a fairly new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner delivered in 2017 with the registration JA894A, and it has just been repainted with an absolutely majestic Pokemon livery following its reveal back in March.
It's part of the Pokemon Air Adventures project (which includes several more airliners from other airlines) and it's nicknamed "Pikachu Jet NH", where "NH" is the ANA's IATA code used to label its flights.
On its fuselage, you can see many beloved Pokemon including the inevitable Pikachu, Rayquaza, Rowlett, Charizard, Corviknight, Vivillion, Flagon, Latios, Latias, Togekiss, and Emolga.
Of course, the inaugural departure drew the attention of many local plane spotters, so we get lots of pictures and videos to enjoy from Twitter users SatoF (who shot the featured image above), 鳥海高太朗, 中木寸(元), イチロー@出向終了。, kei, けんと, あっくん, and 山ちゃん @あや.
ANA国際線「ピカチュウジェット NH」。機体左側の動画です。 pic.twitter.com/qUPP9QvWKU— 鳥海高太朗 (@toriumikotaro) June 4, 2023
6/4HND JA894A ピカチュウジェットNH初便離陸撮れた pic.twitter.com/lWtqmxQsxy— SatoF (@sato_f) June 4, 2023
2023/06/04— イチロー@出向終了。 (@RJTT_HND_Tokyo) June 4, 2023
JA894A ポケモン塗装 pic.twitter.com/R9DRk7zsto
出発遅れましたが無事BKKに出発しました🙂 JA894A pic.twitter.com/A3nyPoMwMo— kei (@kei604) June 4, 2023
2023/6/4 NH847 HND→BKK— あっくん (@ayukn_779x) June 4, 2023
このカラフルな感じ以前のPeace jetを思い出します pic.twitter.com/f0AzmTyFGr
Starting today, this beautiful Pokemon bird will serve many routes between Tokyo Haneda and Bangkok, Singapore, Jakarta, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Delhi, Sydney, Vancouver, and Honolulu.
The trend of Pokemon Jets has returned in full force after a few years of hiatus following the pandemic, in part thanks to the Pokemon Air Adventures initiative, as airlines strive to promote the return of tourism in Japan and Asia.
this one may be considered special because ANA is actually the airline that started this kind of promotion all the way back in 1998 with a Boeing 747 and two Boeing 767. Yet, it has been seven years since the latest Pikachu Jet flying for the popular carrier was retired. Since then, the trend has been the domain of smaller airlines, at least in Japan.
The most famous of the Pikachu Jets all also belonged to ANA, the beloved "Pikachu Jumbo" JA8957 launched in 2004 and painted bright yellow. It was retired in 2013 among emotional farewells by its many fans.
Currently, there are five Pokemon jets in operation in Japan, two among the other four are operated by Skymark focusing on Flying Pikachu, one by Air Do focusing on Vulpix, and the "Nassy Jet" dedicated to Eggxecutor operated by Solaseed Air. The trend has actually extended outside of Japan as of late, with airliners operated by China Airlines in Taiwan, Scoot in Singapore, and T'way in South Korea.
If you're interested in the games belonging to the popular franchise, Pokemon Scarlet & Violet is currently available exclusively for Nintendo Switch and a DLC has been announced. Pokemon Sleep is also coming this summer.
Incidentally, if aircraft are your drift, you can check out our daily Microsoft Flight Simulator news coverage, to keep you updated on the many add-ons coming and released for the sim.