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A Japan Airlines 787-9 departing. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Japan’s Aviation Industry Gradually Recovering

After months of the coronavirus pandemic began, Japan’s domestic travel volume is seeing an upward trend.

Tokyo Narita International Airport and Kansai Airports have announced their latest passenger volume in August, and both are seeing a surge in domestic travel passengers. The figures show that the domestic passenger volume has been increased for three months in a row after hitting the lowest in May.

Kansai Airports owns three airports in Kansai, including Kansai International Airport, Osaka International Airport and Kobe Airport. According to the company, the number of domestic flights has recovered to 80-90% of last year’s figures. However, coronavirus cases have been skyrocketing since the end of July, resulting in decreasing the travel demand. Passenger numbers were recorded at 30 percent of last year’s level as the government compelled citizens to avoid traveling during the long weekend in mid-August. In the meantime, cargo flights have recorded massive growth year-over-year during the pandemic.

According to Tokyo Narita Airport, international passenger volume and domestic passenger volume in August were 112,959 and 267,325 respectively. The figures have dropped 97% and 64% percent respectively compared to the same time last year.

Japan has barred foreigners from entering the country in response to COVID-19, but the government plans to reopen the border to revitalize the economy as the coronavirus curve has flattened.

“It is indispensable to resume international travel,” Yoshihide Suga, Prime Minister of Japan said. Japan will allow students and business travelers to enter the country, but tourists are still barred from entering.

Japanese airlines have also shown a sign of gradual improvement as international flights have been added. All Nippon Airways will add the frequencies to London; Sydney; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Manila, Philippines. Afterwards, the airline will resume flights from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Singapore; from Narita to Bangkok and from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Honolulu in November. The resumed Honolulu flights could meet the demands of passengers traveling to Japan for studies or work.

As a result of a surge in demand, All Nippon Airways is also going to resume services to China. The airline will provide a weekly flight from Tokyo Narita Airport to Qingdao and Guangzhou. At the same time, Japan Airlines also announced that it will boost frequencies to Dalian to thrice-weekly services.

In addition, after a six-month hiatus, Japan’s Peach Aviation announced that it will resume its services to Taiwan on Oct. 25.

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