Taiwan's EVA Airways plans to gradually withdraw its iconic Hello Kitty-themed jets from international flights to Japan, South Korea, the U.S., Paris and Malaysia by the end of this year, the Taipei-based carrier updated on its Hello Kitty website.
From September 15, EVA Airways will cancel the Hello Kitty flights to Osaka (suspended as of September 12), Haneda, Fukuoka and Sapporo, Japan
Flights to Seoul, United States will no longer be served by Hello-Kitty-themed jets from October 15, 2016, but with the interior sustained.
The Taipei-based carrier will then gradually cancel its Hello Kitty flights to Shanghai, Paris and Malaysia from this December.
In 2017, EVA Airways' Hello Kitty-themed jets will only serve Singapore routes.
There are a total of seven Hello Kitty-themed jets in EVA's fleet, including five Airbus A330s, namely Hello Kitty Magic Starts (B-16331), Hello Kitty Loves Apples (B-16332), Hello Kitty Around-the-World (B-16333), Hello Kitty Happy Music (B-16311) and Hello Kitty Speed Puff (B-16309), and two Boeing 777-300ERs, namely Hello Kitty Sanrio Family Hand-in-Hand (B-16703) and Hello Kitty Shining Start (b-16722).
EVA Airways has begun retiring its A330-200 fleet in favor of more A330-300s. It now has phased out five A332s. The Hello Kitty flights are cancelled as the two Hello Kitty-themed A330-200 jets will be suspended operations for maintenance, said a source familiar with the matter. Then, they will operate fewer flights before official retirement.
However, with the retirement of Hello Kitty jets, EVA Airways may paint other aircraft with Sanrio characters. It's proved by a photo released on Facebook, showing an EVA A321-211 (B-16202) is painting with Sanrio character "Gudetama".
What's more, Uni Air, a subsidiary of EVA Airways, announced Friday it will launch its first Hello Kitty Family aircraft in September.
"Bad Badtz-Maru", another Sanrio charter, will be painted on an ATR72-600 regional jet, which is scheduled to take its first revenue flight from Taipei Songshan to Magong.