Charter Flights by Chinese LCC on Ibaraki-Shanghai Route - Regular Flights in the Future

Charter Flights by Chinese LCC on Ibaraki-Shanghai Route - Regular Flights in the Future

A Spring Airline aircraft. Photo: Ibaraki Prefecture

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Spring Airlines (airline code: 9C), a low-cost carrier (LCC) headquartered in Shanghai, China, has decided to fly charter flights starting at the end of July on a route between Ibaraki Airport in Omitama, Ibaraki Prefecture and Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

Ibaraki Governor Masaru Hashimoto and Spring Airlines President Wang Zhenghua made the announcement on June 6 in Shanghai. There will be about three weekly roundtrip flights for the first two months in anticipation of demand by travelers to the Shanghai Expo, and thereafter the carrier aims to operate regularly scheduled flights on the route. Spring Airlines plans to use a 180-seat Airbus A320 aircraft. Details such as flight schedules and fares will be determined later.

Spring Airlines was established as China’s first private-sector LCC by a major Chinese travel agency. It operates over 40 domestic flights from airports including Hongqiao and Pudong Airports in Shanghai. The Ibaraki route is the first international route for the airline.

Ibaraki Airport has been citing its low cost since opening in March of this year to lure primarily Asian LCCs to fly there, and Spring Airlines, which wants to start serving international routes, is of the same mind. Governor Hashimoto said, “We are very thankful that Spring Airlines has selected Ibaraki Airport for its first overseas destination. It reflects well on Ibaraki Airport’s concept of recognizing that we can get low-cost airlines.” Spring Airlines President Wang Zhenghua commented, “We received invites from many Japanese airports, but Ibaraki Airport is near Tokyo, their invite was enthusiastic and they have a deep understanding of LCCs.”

The new route is the third servicing Ibaraki Airport following a Seoul route by Korean carrier Asiana Airlines, Inc. and a Kobe route by Skymark Airlines Inc.