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Thu Sep 24, 2020, 08:06 AM

Japan is resuming flights to China, and reopening its borders - but not to tourists

Japan is restarting flights to China amid reports it is looking to reopen its borders to business travellers, tertiary students and long-term foreign residents from next month, in what is seen as a test run for a wider reopening with the Tokyo Olympic Games less than a year away.

Japan Airlines (JAL) plans to operate a 206-seat Boeing 787-8 aircraft on the Guangzhou route from October 2, with 30 business seats and 176 in economy class, a spokesman for the airline told This Week in Asia.

“We restarted our China flights with the Dalian route, initially with one flight a week, but that is now up to three times a week,” spokesman Mark Morimoto said.

“The Chinese authorities said we could introduce another flight a week, although not to Beijing or Shanghai, which are our most important China routes. So we selected Guangzhou.”

JAL flew daily to the city before the pandemic, but the airline is presently operating just 14 per cent of its international routes and has just 2 per cent of its passenger count from a year ago. Morimoto said it was faring better domestically, with load factors of between 60 per cent and 70 per cent.


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