Tianjin Airlines’ charter flight service to start from June

May 23, 2014 Wu Li Jun of Ryukyu Shimpo

Tianjin Airlines, based in Tianjin, China, will operate its charter flights to Naha from June 1. Charter flights by Tianjin Airlines will run every Thursday and Sunday for one year.

Since September 2012, when the relationship between Japan and China began to worsen after the Japanese government nationalized the disputed Senkaku Islands, this is the first charter flight to Okinawa that the government of China has approved. It is also the airline’s first Japan route. It will use Airbus A320 with 174 seats for the flights.

Currently, there are two routes between Naha and airports in China – Shanghai and Beijing. These are run by China Eastern Airlines, Juneyao Airlines, and Air China. Tianjin Airlines will open a third route to China, to Tianjin City.

Hainan Airlines suspended flights between Naha and Beijing in September 2012.
Yuji Taira, the director of the Beijing Office of the Okinawa Prefectural Government, said, “Because of the Senkaku Islands issue, the government of China has not been approving any new charter flights between China and Japan. Thus, this new charter flight between one of the national central cities and Japan has major implications for tourism.” Tianjin is a metropolis in northern China and one of the five national central cities of the People’s Republic of China.

(English translation by T&CT, Hitomi Shinzato)

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