Spring Airlines to open Shanghai-Greater Tokyo route

20 Jun 2010

Chinese low-cost carrier Spring Airlines plans to launch flights between Shanghai and the newly opened Ibaraki Airport northeast of Tokyo by the end of July.

This is the first time that a privately owned Chinese airline has launched an international air route.

Spring Airlines plans a three times-a-week service operated by an Airbus A320. Initially the service will be a charter but after the closing of the Shanghai Expo in October, the service will become scheduled.

Ibaraki Airport is 80km northeast of Tokyo and about 85 minutes from downtown Tokyo by bus. The airport is focusing on building a market among regional low-cost carriers, seeking an alternative to the expensive and crowded hubs of Narita, which is also far from central Tokyo, and Haneda, which is within Metropolitan Tokyo.

Wang Zhenghua, Spring Airlines’ president, said that the carrier is looking at launching other routes to destinations such as Hongkong, Macau, Taiwan, and international routes to South Korea, Southeast Asia, and Russia.

The carrier’s home base is Shanghai’s Hongqiao International Airport.

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Kenny Coyle

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