Friday, November 6, 2015

Spring Airlines Japan files for Chongqing and Wuhan.

On November 4th, Spring Airlines Japan [IJ/SJO] announced that they had officially filed an application with the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) to launch its first international routes from Tokyo/Narita [NRT/RJAA] to Chongqing [CKG/ZUCK] and Wuhan [WUH/ZHHH] in February 2016, coinciding with the Chinese New Year peak travel season. Chairman Wang Wei had disclosed over a year ago that these would be their first overseas destinations (Spring Japan considering Chongqing and Wuhan.).

Boeing 737-86N(WL) JA02GR taxies at Narita. Spring Japan is not envisioned to become a major domestic player; it is a vehicle of the Spring Airlines Group to better access the Tokyo market, both politically and regulatorily, and carry Chinese travelers visiting multiple Japanese cities. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

Wuhan will start on February 13th with a three-times-weekly service, operating on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, while Chongqing will follow on February 14th operating four times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Details of the schedule will be released at a later date. 189-seat Boeing 737-800s will fly the new routes.

Parent Spring Airlines [9C/CQH] already connects the two Chinese cities with Osaka/Kansai [KIX/RJBB], while it also links Chongqing with Luoyang [LYA/ZHLY], Shanghai/Hongqiao [SHA/ZSSS], Shanghai/Pudong [PVG/ZSPD], Shenyang [SHE/ZYTX], Shenzhen [SZX/ZGSZ], and Shijiazhuang [SJW/ZBSJ]. It does not offer any domestic flights from Wuhan. Meanwhile, Narita – Chongqing currently sees Air China [CA/CCA] operating daily and Narita – Wuhan has a twice-weekly round-trip with China Southern Airlines [CZ/CSN].

The Japanese affiliate of China's largest LCC only launched revenue flights last year in August 2014 with three routes from their Narita hub (Spring Airlines Japan commences operations.). However, Takamatsu [TAK/RJOT] was suspended after October 23rd (Spring Airlines Japan to drop Takamatsu.), leaving the fledgling carrier with just twice-daily Hiroshima [HIJ/RJOA] and daily Saga [HSG/RJFS] services for a still small fleet of three 737s. It will not be adding any aircraft for the time being. Domestic expansion is also reportedly in the works, with Kansai and Sapporo/New Chitose [CTS/RJCC] to be launched as early as Spring 2016 (Spring Airlines Japan plans Kansai, Sapporo, and China.). Its Chinese parent is building a hub at Kansai, while it also serves the Hokkaido capital from Shanghai/Pudong.

Source: Aviation Wire, 2015 November 4th. (in Japanese)
Source: Nikkei Shimbun, 2015 November 4th. (in Japanese)

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