Japan, Taiwan sign pact to expand air services between them

Saturday, December 12, 2009, 18:01 by Jose Philip

Japan and Taiwan have signed an aviation agreement aimed at expanding flights between the two countries.

The pact will pave the way for direct air services between the city airports of Japan and of Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, from October 2010.

According to the Japan-Taiwan aviation treaty, the number of weekly flights from Taiwan to central Japan and Japan’s Kansai region will be raised from 28 to 45. This will include 4 new daily round-trip flights between Haneda Airport in Tokyo and Songshan Airport in Taipei.

The treaty also will see an increase in the number of fights between Okinawa, in Japan, and Taipei.

As per the aviation deal, the Taiwan-based China Airlines and Eva Air, and the Japan-based Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways will operate services between Haneda Airport in Tokyo and Songshan Airport in Taipei. These flights will start when the airlines as well as the new runway at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport are ready, which is expected in October 2010.

At present, flights between Japan and Taipei have to go through Japan’s Narita International Airport and Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport.

Flying through airports that are located near the capital cities of Japan and of Taiwan – which will happen once the aviation treaty takes effect – could save about 90 minutes in “door-to-door travel times” for passengers, according to Taiwan’s aviation officials.

Peng Run-tsu, chairman of the Association of East Asian Relations, of Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Reijiro Hattori, chairman of Japan’s Interchange Association in Taipei, signed the aviation agreement in Taipei.

In a statement, Peng Run-tsu said that both Taiwan and Japan will continue to negotiate and strive to resolve all aviation-related issues between the two countries with a view to creating a “win-win situation” for mutual benefit.

The bilateral aviation agreement, Peng explained, will give airlines in both Taiwan and Japan more flexibility regarding scheduling flights from each other’s airports on to third countries. This flexibility, called the Fifth Freedom, results from the increase in passenger and cargo capacities, the number of flights from each country, as well as the choice of “beyond points,” Peng Run-tsu added.

(Fifth-Freedom rights let carriers fly passengers or cargo to one destination, where they can take more passengers and cargo, and then fly on to another destination. Accordingly, Taiwan-based airlines can take passengers from Nagoya and Osaka (in Japan) and then fly them to 7 destinations in the United States and Europe.)

Peng Run-tsu said the demand for more flights between Taiwan and Japan stemmed from increasing demand for air travel, resulting from the growing economic and tourism relations between Japan and Taiwan.

In 2008, the bilateral trade between Japan and China reached US $60.4 billion, and 2.48 million tourists travelled between the two countries.

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