Taipei-Japan-based budget airline Peach Aviation outlined a plan Tuesday to add another three routes between Taiwan and Japan following what its CEO said was a successful marketing campaign over the past five years in Taiwan.
The no-frills airline said it will begin operating three round-trip flights per week on the Taoyuan-Sapporo route on Sept. 24 and the Taoyuan-Sendai routes on Sept. 25.
Starting next summer, the carrier will also offer daily flights between Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan and Okinawa, CEO Shinichi Inoue said.
"Taiwan is central to Peach's goal of becoming a 'bridge in the sky' in Asia," Inoue said, adding that the company plans to double the size of its current fleet of 19 aircraft by 2020.
The airline currently operates on 13 international routes, including four that serve Taiwan, namely Taoyuan-Tokyo, Taoyuan-Osaka, Taoyuan-Okinawa and Kaohsiung-Osaka.
Peach's market in Taiwan has been growing by tenfold in terms of passenger number since it first started operating in the country in 2012, Inoue said.
He said the airline reported an average ridership of 80 percent on its flights to and from Taiwan in 2016, with Taiwanese passengers accounting for about 65 percent.
According to Inoue, 60 percent of the Taiwanese passengers in 2016 were between 20 and 30 years old, which indicated higher demand among young people.
Peach Aviation, a joint venture among All Nippon Airways, Innovation Network Corporation of Japan and First Eastern Investment Group in Hong Kong, is working in tandem with the Japanese government to increase foreign visitor arrivals, he said.
In 2016, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe doubled his country's goal for annual foreign visitor arrivals to 40 million by 2020.
Japan's visitor arrivals grew by an annual 21.8 percent in 2016 to 24.08 million, according to its National Tourism Organization.
Meanwhile, data from Taiwan's Tourism Bureau showed that 4.3 million Taiwanese visited Japan last year, compared with 3.8 million in 2015.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel