Tue, Mar 26, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Japan to lift Taiwan-Tokyo flight limit

EASING UP:A pact signed between Taiwan and Japan in 2011 eliminated restrictions on cross-country flights, but had kept a limit on the number of Tokyo-bound flights

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) yesterday said that Japan would lift restrictions on flights from Taiwan to Tokyo starting on Sunday, indicating that plane tickets to the Japanese capital could soon become cheaper.

The agency said that the two countries had inked an open-sky agreement in 2011 that had lifted restrictions on flights to all cities in Japan, except Tokyo.

The agreement stipulated that the limitation on Tokyo-bound flights would be eased once traffic at Narita International Airport reached more than 270,000 aircraft per year.

The agency said that the Japanese government informed it that the airport would start operating under a summer schedule on Sunday and would no longer restrict the number of flights between Taiwan and Tokyo.

However, flights between Taiwan and Tokyo that fly to a third country via the airport will still not be allowed.

Following the agency’s announcement, TransAsia Airways said that it would start offering flight services to Japan, while both China Airlines and EVA Airways have said that they have no plans yet to increase their flights to Tokyo.

Agency statistics show that there are 130 flights operated by Taiwanese, Japanese and other foreign carriers between Taiwan and Tokyo each week. Among them, 56 are between Taipei International Airport (Songshan) and Haneda Airport. The rest of the flights are from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and Kaohsiung International Airport.

The open-sky policy between Taiwan and Japan has drawn interest from low-cost carriers, with Malaysia-based Air Asia, as well as AirAsia Japan — Air Asia’s joint venture with All Nippon Airways — reported to have plans to launch a new flight service between Taipei and Tokyo.

Scoot Airlines, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, began offering one flight a day from Singapore to Tokyo via Taipei last year and could increase the frequency of this service following the easing of the restritions, media reports say.

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