Saturday, November 15, 2014

Spring Japan considering Chongqing and Wuhan.

Spring Airlines Japan [IJ/SJO] is planning to launch international flights to China from Spring 2015, according to Wang Wei, Chairman of the airline, in an interview carried out by Kyodo Press. Four Chinese destinations are currently being considered by the fledgling Tokyo/Narita [NRT/RJAA]-based LCC for next year, including Chongqing [CKG/ZUCK] and Wuhan [WUH/ZHHH].

Boeing 737-86N(WL) JA02GR arrives back at the airline's Narita hub. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

"There's a huge yet-to-be-tapped market from China to Japan," said Mr. Wang, who added "Japan is the most tourism resource-rich neighbor, but China's number of visitors to Japan is still below (South) Korea." Mr. Wang also revealed that they intend to open around 10 Chinese routes from their hub at Narita in the coming years, with eyes especially on secondary Chinese cities not facing the sea. The current fleet of three 189-seat Boeing 737-800s will be expanded to 20 by the end of 2017.

Spring Airlines Japan only began flying this August initially with domestic routes (Spring Airlines Japan commences operations.) linking Narita with Hiroshima [HIJ/RJOA], Saga [HSG/RJFS], and Takamatsu [TAK/RJOT]. It is the Japanese unit of China's largest LCC Spring Airlines [9C/CQH], which already operates to the big cities of Osaka/Kansai [KIX/RJBB] and Sapporo/New Chitose [CTS/RJCC], as well as the secondary destinations of Ibaraki [IBR/RJAF], Saga, and Takamatsu.

Reference: Oita Godo Shimbun, November 8th. (in Japanese)

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