Spring Airlines’ Japan subsidiary, Spring Airlines Japan has reportedly been approved (Times Weekly, 13-Jun-2013). Spring Airlines holds a 33% stake in the start-up. As previously reported, Spring Airlines Japan delayed its launch in the Japan domestic market from spring 2013 to the end of 2013 or early 2014 due to delays in its approval from Japan MLIT. Spring Airlines Japan has applied to operate services from Tokyo Narita to Kumamoto, Hiroshima and Takamatsu. The carrier is also reportedly considering operating its international service from Tokyo Narita after 2014.
Spring Airlines Japan approved, delays launch to 2014: report
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Japan relaxes Chinese visas to stimulate visitor & airline growth, following Southeast Asia success
Japan has an extremely ambitious tourism target, to raise its 10 million visitor arrivals to 20 million in 2020 and 30 million in 2030. But these targets are in fact entirely feasible, and perhaps even conservative, given the stringent visa policies around regional Asia that only in recent times have been relaxed, but not fully liberalised.
Japan has achieved visitor growth of over 50% from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam following relaxation of border formalities. These are Japan's smaller Asian markets but can contribute significantly to its growth needs, and diversify its arrival streams. Four North Asian markets – China, Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan – account for two-thirds of Japan's total visitor arrivals.
China has the biggest growth opportunities of all and is the next to have its visa rules relaxed. The biggest beneficiaries will be Chinese airlines and, later, Japanese LCCs. Asian visitor growth will involve Japan shifting its focus away from long-haul markets: Asian visitors comprised 64% of arrivals in 2000, but are now up to 81%. Japan in 2010 was the third most popular outbound market for Chinese, but in 2013 slipped to seventh place, suggesting considerable upside.
China airline growth: 57% international surge while domestic holds up and Hong Kong/Macau fall
As questions reverberate about China's economy and slowing growth, what are the impacts to Chinese aviation, home to the world's second-largest domestic market?
The good news is 1Q2015 traffic from China's airlines is comfortably robust, increasing 13% and surpassing 100 million passengers for the first time. Domestic growth remained at 11%, with Chinese airlines carrying an additional 9 million domestic passengers in 1Q2015 compared to 1Q2014 – equivalent to an additional 656 737 flights a day.
International growth has picked up giant steam, surging 57% in 1Q2015 – equivalent to an additional 64 A380 flights a day. But overall international traffic remains small for Chinese airlines, accounting for only about 7% of total carriage – the same as in 2008 but higher than more recent years. Regional growth has slowed to 5% as Hong Kong and Macau are not as attractive as they used to be.
More worryingly for Taiwan, that market is starting to show a contraction in Chinese visitors, perhaps as they head to seemingly more exotic regional Asian points like Japan, Korea and Thailand. Those three countries will attract the highest growth from Chinese airlines in summer 2015.