Additional daily passenger charter flights between China and Japan will commence in October, civil aviation officials announced yesterday.
The flights will operate between Tokyo's Haneda airport and Shanghai's Hongqiao airport.
Yang Yuanqing, deputy director of the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC), and Japan's Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Tetsuzo Fuyushiba signed the agreement on the flights yesterday.
There are to be two exchange flights between Haneda airport and Hongqiao airport every day.
"This represents great progress for Sino-Japan aerial relations," Fuyushiba said.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the normalization of bilateral relations between Japan and China.
The agreement follows Premier Wen Jiabao's "ice-melting" visit to Japan in April.
Two Japanese carriers, ANA Sky and Japan Airlines, and a yet-to-be-announced Chinese carrier will service the route.
"Most of the passengers are traveling on business," Wang, a representative of ANA Sky's business department, said.
The move is also expected to spur the tourism industry, with some five million exchanges seen this year.
Shanghai's Hongqiao airport became a domestic airport when Pudong airport was finished in 1999. However, it will run international charter flights specifically for this route.
"It is only 13 km from the center of the city, which is convenient for visitors," Liang Nan, deputy director of CAAC's foreign affairs office, said.
Haneda airport is a major airport and is only 16 km from the center of Tokyo. It is also a domestic airport.
These airports, and Seoul's Kimpo airport, will service what has been dubbed the "golden triangle" of business exchanges between the three cities.
"China plans to operate fights between Seoul's Kimpo airport and Shanghai's Hongqiao airport by the end of this year," Liang said.
(China Daily June 26, 2007)