Saturday, December 19, 2015

Spring Airlines Japan granted approval to go international.

On December 16th, Spring Airlines Japan [IJ/SJO] announced that it had received approval from regulator Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) to launch international routes, paving way to commence Wuhan [WUH/ZHHH] and Chongqing [CKG/ZUCK] from their Tokyo/Narita [NRT/RJAA] hub on February 13th and 14th, respectively (Spring Airlines Japan files for Chongqing and Wuhan.).

Leased from GECAS, Boeing 737-86N(WL) JA02GR is one of only three aircraft in Spring Japan's tiny fleet. Initial plans to expand its fleet to 20 by 2017 have been delayed indefinitely. (Photo: Spring Airlines Japan)

Wuhan will start with a three-times-weekly service, operating on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, while Chongqing will operate four times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Both routes are timed to depart Narita in the morning for an afternoon arrival into the Chinese cities and an evening return to Japan. 189-seat Boeing 737-800s will be assigned. Tickets will go on sale at a later date not yet disclosed.

Flight Schedule:
Narita – Wuhan NEW 3 weekly with B737-800.
IJ1011 NRT 1020 – 1415 WUH 73H Mo/We/Sa *From Feb/13.
IJ1012 WUH 1515 – 1940 NRT 73H Mo/We/Sa *From Feb/13.

Narita – Chongqing NEW 4 weekly with B737-800.
IJ1021 NRT 0900 – 1415 CKG 73H Tu/Th/Fr/Su *From Feb/14.
IJ1022 CKG 1515 – 2025 NRT 73H Tu/Th/Fr/Su *From Feb/14.

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. Narita – Chongqing currently has Air China [CA/CCA] operating daily, while Narita – Wuhan sees a twice-weekly round-trip with China Southern Airlines [CZ/CSN] with All Nippon Airways [NH/ANA] slated to enter with a daily service on April 28th, 2016.

Chairman Wang Wei had disclosed over a year ago that the two cities would be their first overseas destinations (Spring Japan considering Chongqing and Wuhan.). The Japanese affiliate of China's largest LCC only started flying in August 2014 with three routes from Narita (Spring Airlines Japan commences operations.). However, Takamatsu [TAK/RJOT] was suspended in October (Spring Airlines Japan to drop Takamatsu.), leaving the fledgling carrier with just twice-daily Hiroshima [HIJ/RJOA] and daily Saga [HSG/RJFS] round-trips. That said, Spring Japan is not envisioned to become a major domestic player, but a vehicle of the Spring Airlines Group to better access the China – Tokyo market as well as carry Chinese travelers visiting multiple cities in Japan.

Source: Spring Airlines Japan, 2015 December 16th. (in Japanese)

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