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Spring Airlines, a Shanghai-based private budget airline, launched its first international flight to Japan Wednesday, marking the low-cost airline’s entry into international market.
An Airbus A320, a charter plane carrying passengers from travel agencies, departed from the Shanghai Pudong International Airport. It arrived Wednesday noon at the Ibaraki Airport, about 80 km northeast of Tokyo.
The airline has scheduled three round-trip charter flights between Shanghai and Ibaraki each week, said Yang Lifan, a manager with the marketing department of Spring Airlines.
The cheapest one-way trip ticket for the flight costs 599 yuan ($88), compared with 2590 yuan ($382) for a one-way ticket from Shanghai to Tokyo, offered by China Eastern Airlines.
These tickets had, by mid-August, been nearly sold out in the Japanese market, Yang said.
“Because low-cost airlines are rare in Japan, our flights have attracted much attention there,” said Zhang Wu’an, a spokesman with the airline.
Zhang said that the company plans to offer another flight to the Republic of Korea.
According to regulations of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), tickets for charter flights can only be sold to travel agencies.
Individual passengers in China could only enjoy the low price when the airline’s regular flights between Shanghai and Ibaraki were approved, Yang said.
Spring Airlines is China’s first private budget airline. It began commercial operations in July, 2005. - Xinhua