China, Japan to open charter flights

Updated: 2007-04-18 22:18

BEIJING - All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan's second biggest airline, is to operate charter flights between Chinese and Japanese cities from August to November when the two countries mark a diplomatic milestone.

"Visiting groups of tourists and business people can order this service as this year could see more exchange activities between the two countries," said Ohashi Yoji, chairman of ANA.

To mark the 35th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties between China and Japan, China and Japan plan to hold cultural and sports exchange activities this year, including marathons in Beijing and Dalian, a coastal city in northeast China.

"The number of charter flights are under governmental discussion," he said.

ANA figures show the number of people flying between China and Japan is increasing at an almost double-digit rate each year. The number last year totaled 4.5 million.

During Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Japan from April 11 to 13, the two governments agreed to allow flights between Tokyo's Haneda Airport and Shanghai's Hongqiao Airport.

ANA, which began flying to China in 1987, has 20 flights from Japan to 10 Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. The number of Chinese taking ANA flights reached 1.36 million in 2006, a 13-fold increase over 20 years.

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