Far Eastern Air Transport will begin a service between Naha and Kaohsiung ― CEO informs Governor of Okinawa

February 7, 2012 Masaaki Umeda of Ryukyu Shimpo

On February 6, with a bilateral air transport agreement having been in place between Japan and Taiwan since November 2011, Far Eastern Air Transport plans to commence a regular charter service between Naha and Kaohsiung once or twice a week in March. The chief executive officer of Far Eastern Air Transport, Zhixing Yan, told Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, who was visiting the company among his official promotion visits to airline companies in Taiwan. The flight will be the first regular charter service between Okinawa and the southern part of Taiwan.

Taiwan’s second largest city, Kaohsiung has a port that handles the sixth largest amount of cargo in the world and its warm climate makes it popular for tourists.

Governor Nakaima said, “Okinawa is prefecture made up of islands, so it covers a vast area and has diverse appeal. I hope that many flights can be introduced to destinations within our prefecture.” Yan responded saying, “We are looking at starting services on other new routes.”

Meanwhile, Mandarin Airlines (MDA) will operate regular charter flights between Naha and Taichung twice a week from April 14 before switching to regular flights in June. TransAsia Airways (TNA) will commence seven flights a week between Naha and Taipei in June. It has also operated charter flights between Ishigaki and Hualian.

At present China Airlines (CAL) runs 11 regular flights a week between Taiwan and Naha, but in the future it is expected that a total of four companies will begin services to and from Okinawa. The number of flights between Okinawa and Taiwan will total over 20 flights a week, and the range of direct flights to and from the central and southern parts of Taiwan will be improved.

On February 6, Governor Nakaima visited companies such as the Taipei branch of the Star Cruises which operates cruise ships, MDA, TNA, the Civil Aeronautics Administration and CAL. Advertising the appeal of sightseeing in Okinawa and its products, the governor requested that Taiwanese companies expand their services and include new routes.

(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)

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