Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Air Do plans Sapporo – Taipei charters in November.

AIRDO (HD/ADO) (d.b.a. Air Do) will launch its long-awaited international flights this autumn, starting with charter flights between Hokkaido and Taiwan. Two Sapporo/New Chitose (CTS/RJCC) – Taipei/Taoyuan (TPE/RCTP) round-trips to be flown with 144-seat Boeing 737-700s are currently planned for November. The Hokkaido-based carrier will use local travel agencies at both destinations to fill the flights.
Boeing 767-33A/ER JA98AD lands at Haneda. Although having flown only domestic, the 'Extended Range' version was acquired with international ambitions in mind. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

Obihiro (OBO/RJCB) in central Hokkaido was also considered, along with other cities in Taiwan as well, however, having no experience in the overseas market, Air Do chose a low-risk route. Being a domestic airport, Obihiro would require arrangements for a makeshift CIQ facility, while airports of Taiwan other than in Taipei don't have ground handling support from partner All Nippon Airways (NH/ANA). ANA Holdings, parent of ANA, has a minority 14% stake in Air Do.

Air Do is evaluating additional regional international routes for 2015 and beyond, and hopes to have scheduled international services from Hokkaido before the Tokyo Olympics/Paralympics in 2020. However, with LCCs gaining a foothold in regional Asian routes, which are generally better suited for LCCs rather than full-service carriers, will Air Do's foray into the international market work?

Source: Hokkaido Shimbun, May 20th. (in Japanese)

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