Temporary Charter Flights to Ibaraki Airport from Shanghai - Regular Flights to Come

Temporary Charter Flights to Ibaraki Airport from Shanghai - Regular Flights to Come

Spring Airlines aircraft.

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Shanghai, China-based low-cost carrier (LCC) Spring Airlines (airline code: 9C) began flying a route between Ibaraki Airport in Omitama, Ibaraki Prefecture and Shanghai Pudong International Airport on July 28. The airline is starting by operating temporary charter flights.

Spring Airlines is operating Monday, Wednesday and Thursday flights (excluding some dates) until August 31, primarily to meet expected air travel demand by visitors to the Shanghai Expo. The aircraft being used is a 180-seat Airbus A320. The airline and Ibaraki Airport hope to follow the charter flights with regular commercial flights starting in September.

Spring Airlines was established as “China’s first private-sector LCC” by a major Chinese travel agency in 2005. 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, which has attracted attention for its bargain-basement rates for the new route, with roundtrip fare to Shanghai costing only 4,000 yen.

The new route is the third (including regular and temporary routes) servicing Ibaraki Airport following a Seoul route by Korean carrier Asiana Airlines, Inc. and a Kobe route by Ohta Ward, Tokyo-based Skymark Airlines Inc. In June, Skymark declared that it would abandon the route, but thereafter restart it in October and add two more domestic routes to New Chitose and Chubu. If the temporary Spring Airlines route becomes a regular one, then the airport will expand to having two international and three domestic routes with regular flights.