Spring Airlines will launch five new China-Japan services in March to accommodate the steadily increasing Chinese visitors drawn to Japan by cheaper yen and eased visa requirements.
The five routes will connect Shanghai with Asahikawa Hokkaido, and Chengdu, Zhengzhou, Xian and Jinjiang with Osaka. The launch will coincide with start of the cherry blossom season in Japan and, thanks to the drop in international fuel prices, travelers will get the added bonus of a fuel surcharge reduction.
Chinese visitors are also rushing to get their hands on massively popular Japanese cosmetics and appliances like rice cookers, air purifiers, and Toto’s electric toilet seat with washlet.
Airlines are actively opening new routes connecting the two nations to capitalize on this tremendous business opportunity. Spring Airlines operated a total of 48 flights to Japan with 98% average load factor transporting a total of 16,934 passenger trips in just seven days of the Spring Festival holiday season.
Chinese arrivals to Japan reached a record high over the Spring Festival holidays. This will likely help push this year's total Chinese arrivals to above 3.2 million, making China the top visitor source market for Japan for the first time, according to CTS Japan branch director Xiaoping Ma.
“The Sino-Japanese travel market has tremendous business potential,” a Spring Airlines marketing department executive said. “Spring Airlines has already added six new air routes to Japan since July last year from Shanghai to Sapporo Hokkaido and from Chongqing, Wuhan, Tianjin, Lanzhou and Qingdao to Osaka.”
Due to falling international fuel prices, the fuel surcharge for a China-Japan return flight has been reduced by around RMB200, to RMB850. The resounding success during the Spring Festival and the three-fold increase in international flight bookings after the festival has once again put leisure travel on the top of the agenda of Spring Airline’s international operations. (Translation by David)