ANA celebrates 60 years of service to Okinawa at Naha Airport

ANA celebrates 60 years of service to Okinawa at Naha Airport

ANA Group employees write “With gratitude on 60th anniversary” on the tarmac using a wet mop at Naha Airport on September 23.

September 24, 2021 Ryukyu Shimpo


On September 23, the Okinawa branch of ANA (All Nippon Airways) held an event at Naha Airport to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its service to Okinawa. ANA employees handed out commemorative gifts to the 207 passengers boarding the 11 a.m. flight from Naha to Haneda and sent them off with a message reading “with gratitude,” written on the tarmac with a mop soaked in water.


ANA first began its service to Okinawa on September 23, 1961, with the Kagoshima-Naha route. Because the Okinawan administration had not yet been returned to Japan, travel to Okinawa from Japan was considered ANA’s only regular international flight and passengers required a passport to board.


With Okinawa’s reversion to Japan on May 15, 1972, ANA debuted the Haneda-Naha route, later adding lines to other islands such as Ishigaki. In the 60 years of servicing Okinawa, the airline has transported a cumulative total of approximately 190 million passengers. Although some flights are currently suspended due to COVID, the company operates 27 routes in and out of Okinawa.


In Okinawa, ANA expanded its business into tourism and beyond, opening the Manza Beach Hotel and Laguna Garden Hotel. In 2009, it opened an international cargo hub and a branch of its aircraft maintenance business, MRO Japan, in 2019. Osamu Iguchi, manager of the ANA Okinawa branch, said, “The Okinawa route is very important. We hope to optimize aircraft on the existing routes and add as many lines as possible to underserved areas.”


(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)


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