After a three year absence from feature films, director Shinobu Yaguchi is set to direct a new comedy set in the world of air travel entitled Happy Flight (working title).

Based on research conducted by Yaguchi last year, Happy Flight's story is set on a flight bound for Honolulu, Hawaii. With elements of comedy and suspense, the story will focus on young co-pilot training to become a pilot, his hard-nosed trainer, a ditzy flight attendant on her first international flight, and a young mechanic. Auditions are currently underway. Major airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) is cooperating on all aspects of production.

Although Yaguchi directed a segment in music-themed omnibus film Tokyo Rhapsody released this May, he hasn't directed a feature since 2004's Swing Girls. The announcement has prompted considerable interest from the media.

Swing Girls grossed $19.34m (Y2.15b) and was a top ten domestic hit that year for distributor Toho. Yaguchi previously directed 2001's Waterboys, which went on to become a popular TV series. Both films were centred around high school underdogs taking on unlikely challenges,and wonJapanese Academy Awards in various categories.

Happy Flight will start shooting in April 2008 and is slated for an autumn release through Toho.