Link Airs announced (12-Jul-2013) it has applied with Japan MLIT for its air operator’s certificate. The start-up plans to commence operations from spring 2014, operating with two ATR 72-600 aircraft initially on services from Fukuoka and Kitakyushu including five times daily Fukuoka-Miyazaki, three times daily Fukuoka-Matsuyama and twice daily Kitakyushu-Matsuyama services. The carrier expects to take delivery of its third ATR aircraft one month after its inaugural operation, with plans to use the additional aircraft to increase Fukuoka-Miyazaki frequency and launch Kitakyushu-Miyazaki service. [more - original PR - Japanese]
Link Airs applies for AOC, launch in spring 2014 from Kitakyushu and Fukuoka
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China may be the story for the great outbound travel boom, but its neighbour Japan is the home for inbound visitor growth. Despite being one of the world's most populous nations, with a high GDP and rich culture, Japan has hardly registered with visitor arrivals. That is quickly changing. Between 2010 and 2015 Japan added 11 million annual visitors. Japan ended 2015 with 19.7 million visitors, five years ahead of its goal to have 20 million visitors in 2020. Tokyo has now doubled its goals: by 2020, Japan wants another 20 million, and then 30 million more in the next decade after that. Before the end of the decade, Japan expects to crack the list of 10 most popular countries for tourism. By 2030, it could be in the top five.
China and other Asian markets are driving most of the growth: in early 2016, they account for 87% of visitor arrivals, up from 62% in 1998. Long haul markets to Europe, North America and Australia/New Zealand have experienced a corresponding decrease. Japan's new tourism goal is to rebalance and gain stronger growth from these long haul markets. Yet the capacity is not there.
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Seoul Incheon airport: 49 million passengers in 15 years. Well on the way to 100 million in 2030
Seoul Incheon airport has turned 15, having first opened in late Mar-2001. The all-new airport has accumulated 49 million passengers since then, making it the fifth largest major hub in Northeast Asia. Incheon is now setting its sights on 2030: it plans to double passenger volumes to 100 million, including 20 million transfer passengers. This is nearly a tripling of 2015's 7.4 million transfer passengers who made up 15% of total throughput.
Increasing the share of traffic as transfers to 20% will be difficult: transfer passengers have been on the wane at Incheon. The total transfer volume decreased in 2014, and in 2015 was still below the 2013 peak. The 15% transfer share in 2015 is below 2014's 16% and 2013's 19%. The growth in direct seat capacity from mainland China to North America has pressured Incheon's transfer business; Beijing Capital airport will likely exceed Hong Kong's North America capacity by the end of 2016 while Shanghai Pudong is not far behind.