Taipei, Mandarin Airlines on Thursday began a direct service between Taichung in central Taiwan and the Japanese capital of Tokyo, a move aimed at helping to develop Taichung as a tourism hub, the city mayor said at the launch ceremony.
The launch of the new route is also expected to boost the growth of tourism in both Taiwan and Japan, Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (???) said.
He said it usually takes about two to three hours for people in central Taiwan to travel to another airport to catch a flight to Tokyo but with the opening of the Taichung-Tokyo route, the government of the central Taiwan city is hoping it will become a travel hub.
Last year, 4.56 million Taiwanese travelers visited Japan, while the number of Japanese tourists to Taiwan was 1.89 million, Lin said, citing Tourism Bureau statistics.
After the ceremony, Lin boarded the maiden flight to Tokyo to promote the Taichung World Flora Exposition, which will be held Nov. 3, 2018 to April 24, 2019.
Taichung is a major base for Mandarin Airlines, a subsidiary of Taiwan's flagship carrier China Airlines (CAL), as it operates on 60 international and 73 domestic flights from the city, according to CAL Chairman Ho Nuan-hsuan (???).
He said CAL is planning to buy new aircraft, some of which will be allocated to Mandarin Airlines to help develop its Taichung operations.
Meanwhile, Hajime Nakasugi, an official in charge of economics and tourism at the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, also said that the launch of the direct daily flights between the two cites is expected to help boost cultural and tourism exchanges between Taiwan and Japan.
Mandarin Airlines will be offering one daily flight from Taichung International Airport to Tokyo Narita International Airport, using its 104-seat Embraer E190 jet.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel