Flights to Shanghai doing well on increased passengers travelling on business. Good chance for Haneda Airport to be internationalized
11, 26. 2007
Internationalization of Haneda Airport is now gathering attention. Since the flights from the airport to Shanghai in China were launched in September 2007, increasing number of passengers centering on those travelling on business have been using the flights. This has called for stronger opinions that international flights to and from the airport, especially those connecting with surrounding Asian countries, should be increased.
First class seats on flights from Haneda to Shanghai are also fully reserved
Demand rising for international flights to and from Haneda
Four daily chartered flights began in September 2007 between Haneda Airport and Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport. One month has passed since the beginning of the new flights, and it was found our the flights have been well used especially by passengers flying on business on week days. People in charge of public relations at JAL said that the utilization rate of the flights during the one-month period was 60%-70%. The more the new flights are known about, the more passengers were making use of the flights, they said. Expecting increases of the passengers, larger planes were assigned on the routes from October 28. The first class seats that were offered, while other airline companies had not, were also filled, they added.
The government has not changed its basic policy of "Haneda for domestic flights, Narita for international flights". The regular international flights between Haneda and Gimpo International Airport in Seoul, South Korea, which were launched in November 2007, however, have been said to be a major profit earner as business flights. When the government approved the flights between Haneda and Gimpo, it reasoned that the flight distance between the two airports was shorter that the longest-distance domestic flight between Haneda and Ishigaki-jima in Okinawa in order to maintain the policy of "Haneda for domestic flights, Narita for international flights". The same sort of reasoning supports the approval of the Haneda-Hongqiao flights.
According to the midterm financial report announced by Japan Airlines Corp. (JAL) for the period ending in September 2007, the company's consolidated operating profit showed a sharp recovery from 8,100 million yen for the corresponding term of the previous year to 56,600 million yen, thanks to increased earnings from its international flights which the company reportedly had not been doing well at first. The company enjoyed profitable Vietnam and Delhi, India flights. But it cancelled such unprofitable flights as those between Narita and Las Vegas, and Narita and Los Angeles, while it cut down on its Narita-Hong Kong and other flights.
Seoul and Shanghai can be reached in same amount of time as that to go to Narita from Tokyo
The advantage of Haneda Airport is that it is located near the central part of Tokyo. Passengers can fly from Haneda to Seoul and Shanghai in the same amount of time for them to go to Narita from Tokyo. Some of the passengers express an opinion that they do not mind to fly from Narita to go to Europe or America. But it is definitely more convenient to fly from Haneda to destinations in Asia which would take only two or three hours of flight, they say. Some people close to JAL say that the company would not have to cut down on the Hong Kong flights if those flights originated from Haneda.
Internationalization of Haneda would bring major merits for ANA as it is the company's home airport. It should also give a tail wind to JAL. The number of landing and take-off at Haneda is said to rise by 1.4 fold in the fall of 2010 when its fourth runway will be completed. How to share the flights between international and domestic flights is yet to be decided. But the increase should be a factor to promote the internationalization of Haneda Airport.