Far Eastern Air Transport (FAT), connecting Niigata airport (Japan) and Taiwan airport, announced on February 16 to double its Taipei – Niigata flights to four flights a week from April. Chairman of FAT, CHANG Kang-Wei, visiting Japan at that time, said that they would work hard to achieve the goal of increasing flight frequency to six flights a week after 2019. Niigata Prefectural Government also announced its summer flight schedule for international flights, from March 25 to October 27, on the same day. Flights to Harbin (China) would increase from two to three flights a week, and flights to Seoul (Korea) would decrease to three flights a week.

The launch of the Taiwan route in November 2016 is mainly for Sado Island tourism. In addition to the regular flights on every Monday and Friday, it would also operate on every Wednesday and Saturday from April.

CHANG, Chairman of FAT, said that FAT would gradually introduce new model aircraft from 2019, and would consider operating six return flights a week for this route at a press conference held by Niigata Prefectural Government. In addition to transporting passengers, FAT would also like to work on the air cargo sector.

China Southern Airline’s flights to Harbin (China) would also be increased because of the increasing demand of travelers travelling to Japan.

On the other hand, Seoul (Korea) flights operated by Korean Air would decrease from five to three flights a week due to a decrease in Korean travelers travelling to Niigata.

The Seoul route is the representative international route of Niigata Airport. In the past, the route was operated with daily flights. However, due to the decrease in passengers, flight frequency decreased to five flights a week in 2014, and three flights a week in 2016. In October 2017, flight frequency was gradually increased to five flights a week, but now it would be decreased again.

According to the civil aviation bureau of Niigata Prefectural Government, the “green season” with no snow made it more difficult to attract customers. Though the number of Korean travelers visiting Japan increase rapidly every year, reaching over 7 million visitors, passenger load factor of Niigata Airport has not increased. The tourism bureau of Niigata Prefectural Government would “work to attract Korean travelers who like hiking and golfing.”

In addition, Niigata Airport’s existing international flights to Shanghai would maintain two flights a week. In the summer, there would be two charter routes to Khabarovsk and Vladivostok (Russia). It’s expected to have 6 return flights (one return flight a day), same as last year, from July to August.

Niigata Prefectural Government released its international flight schedule for the first half of 2018, from March 25 to October 27, on February 16. Taiwan’s medium sized airline company, Far Eastern Air Transport (FAT), would double Niigata – Taipei flight frequency to four return flights a week. There would also be one additional weekly flight to Harbin (China), resulting three return flights a week. The reason of all the increases is because of the increase in demand of foreign travelers.

Flights to Taipei now operate a return flight on every Monday and Friday and would start operating on every Wednesday and Saturday in April. FAT revealed that the passenger load factor for Taipei flights accounted for more than 85% in January 2018, especially more demands in travelling from Taiwan to Niigata. FAT is bullish towards the increase in travelers, so they have decided to increase flights.

In addition, flights to Seoul would be decreased from three return flights to two return flights a week.