The Chinese low-cost carrier Spring Airlines has signed a memorandum with the Japanese Ibaraki prefectural government on the launch of a Shanghai to Ibaraki route: the first time that a privately-owned Chinese airline has launched an international air route.
By the end of July 2010, Spring Airlines will launch charter flights between Shanghai and Ibaraki. The three times-a-week aviation service will be operated with Airbus A320 aircraft. Tickets will be distributed through travel agencies in China, while about 10% will be sold to individual travelers in Japan. After the 2010 Expo is closed after October, charter flights will become scheduled flights, and tickets will be available to individual travelers.
The Ibaraki Airport is 80 kilometers away from Tokyo and it only takes about 85 minutes to reach downtown Tokyo by bus. This service will offer another choice for Japanese tourists in Tokyo and its neighborhood to visit the Expo in Shanghai.
According to Wang Zhenghua, the president of the airline, after the Japan flights have become established Spring Airlines will launch other international routes to destinations such as Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, South Korea, Southeast Asia, and Russia. In July 2009 Spring Airlines gained approval from the Civil Aviation Administration of China to operate aviation services to Hong Kong, Macau and other neighboring countries and regions.