Saturday, October 4, 2014

Spring Japan eyes Sapporo and China in 2015.

Spring Airlines Japan's (IJ/SJO) Chairman Wang Wei revealed that the fledgling Tokyo/Narita (NRT/RJAA)-based LCC is planning two to four international routes to China in 2015, in an interview by Traicy. For domestic, Sapporo/New Chitose (CTS/RJCC) is the next city being considered, to connect with Spring Airlines' (9C/CQH) link from Shanghai/Pudong (PVG/ZSPD) to the capital of Hokkaido, which will be launched on October 26th, 2014.
Spring Airlines Japan's first aircraft Boeing 737-81D(WL) N272LM/JA01GR at King County 'Boeing Field'. It is leased from AWAS. (Photo: Rick Schlamp/

Regarding the recent decision to cut Narita – Saga (HSG/RJFS) to a single round-trip (Spring Japan reduces schedule for Winter 2014/2015.), the airline told that from Winter 2014/2015, Narita only allowed for a slot that would make an arrival into Saga within 10 minutes of an All Nippon Airways (NH/ANA) flight from Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT) and a departure time within 20 minutes of ANA's return leg. Saga is equipped with one jet-bridge each for domestic and international, and thus only has one security check-point and one waiting area per jet-bridge, and the airport authorities deemed it difficult to handle two Tokyo-area-bound flights at the same time.

Mr. Wang reiterates that they would like to bring the Saga service back to two flights as soon as they can get favorable slot times. For August, the route saw a load factor of 60.1%, which Mr. Wang views as "not bad for a young airline like us," though he admits that "We need to become better known and increase our load factors." Meanwhile, reliability also has to be worked on, as from August 1st through September 21st, Spring Airlines Japan's Saga route saw seven cancellations and a dozen delays of over one hour, while ANA's link to Haneda saw zero cancellations and nine delays, even with five daily round-trips, which is three more than Spring.

For the time being when only two Boeing 737-800s are needed to run the entire schedule, their third will be used as back-up equipment and for crew training. "We have no problem as our plan for winter only called for two airplanes in the first place," said Mr. Wang. Spring Airlines Japan is the Japanese unit of China's first LCC, and only began operations on August 1st (Spring Airlines Japan commences operations.).

Reference: Saga Shimbun, September 26th. (in Japanese)
Reference: Traicy, September 28th. (in Japanese)

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