China Eastern Airlines revives its Naha – Shanghai flights

June 14, 2013 Wu Li Jun of Ryukyu Shimpo

China Eastern Airlines has increased its Shanghai – Naha flights from four round-trips a week to one per day. With relations between Japan and China deteriorating over the Senkaku Islands issue, since September 2012 the company had reduced the number of flights on this route. From July 3, China International Airlines will revive its direct flight between Beijing and Naha, which offers two round-trips per week on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Air routes connecting China and Okinawa have shown signs of improvement.

A spokesperson of the Okinawa branch of China Eastern Airlines explained, “China has its Golden Week holiday this month and tourist interest there in Okinawa’s summer season has increased. We have decided to resume our daily flights.”

Flights from Shanghai to Okinawa are now running at 80 to 90 percent of capacity and there is strong demand for reservations in July and August.

Among other airlines’ direct flights between Okinawa and China, Hainan Airlines has suspended the start of its planned Beijing – Naha route and Juneyao Airlines has postponed the opening of its Shanghai- Naha route.

Since last October, China Eastern Airlines has decreased its flights to four round-trips per week, but offered a daily service at times such as the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year). China Eastern Airlines is the first company to resume its service to the same level as before the Senkaku dispute affected relations.

Hainan Airlines and Juneyao Airlines do not plan to fly on the route in the immediate future.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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