Air China has announced that it will launch non-stop flights on Chengdu to Tokyo route on September 22, 2010.
Flights CA423/4 will depart Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport at 08:00 and arrive in Tokyo at 13:40 local time, every Wednesday and Saturday. Return flights will depart Tokyo Narita Airport at 14:50 local time and arrive in Chengdu at 19:20.
Previously, Air China had opened three routes linking Chengdu with Japan, which include seven flights per week on the Chengdu-Beijing-Tokyo route, seven flights on the Chengdu-Shanghai-Nagoya route, and three flights per week from Chengdu to Osaka via Dalian.
The launch of Chengdu to Tokyo direct flights will cut travel time between the two cities by at least two hours and 20 minutes. The new service is expected to boost the demand for travel to Japan and benefit the tourism sector in Sichuan province.
In July 2010, the Japanese government has relaxed visa restrictions for Chinese tourists. Since then the number of Chinese tourists traveling to Japan has continued to rise. In the meantime, Sichuan province is the top tourist source for Japan.
In 2009, the number of Chinese tourists from Sichuan to Japan was 166,910, and the number reached 47,601 in the first five months of 2010, up 33.83% year on year.