AirAsia expands footprint in Northeast Asia

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(PHOTO: AirAsia)

AlsimAirAsia continues its strategic expansion into the Northeast Asian market with the launch of three fifth-freedom routes connecting Taipei and Kaohsiung to Japan.

AirAsia X (flight code D7) will be operating the new route from Taipei to Tokyo (Narita) starting 31 May 2024, whereas Thai AirAsia (flight code FD) will connect Taipei to Okinawa commencing 15 June 2024 and Kaohsiung to Tokyo (Narita) on 16 June 2024.

AAX will be operating the route from Taipei to Tokyo (Narita) using the Airbus A330 family wide-body aircrafts (including the A330 or A330-300) with a maximum of 377 seats, including 12 Premium Flatbed seats. Meanwhile, Thai AirAsia will be flying an A320 aircraft with 180 seats, including 42 Hot Seats.

The launch of these fifth-freedom routes aligns with the airline’s focus on Taiwan as a virtual hub, connecting guests to more destinations across Southeast Asia and the Northeast Asian region through its extensive network of 130 destinations.

AirAsia X CEO Benyamin Ismail said: ”We are proud to launch our first fifth-freedom route this year from Taipei to Tokyo, highlighting the remarkable recovery for AAX. Japan has always been the top destination for AAX, and this launch stands as a strong testament to our commitment to the competitive market and to facilitating more convenient and affordable travel for our guests. Additionally, our guests between Taipei and Japan can enjoy an enhanced travel experience with our award-winning Premium Flatbed onboard. We believe that the launch of this new route can boost tourism opportunities between Taipei and Japan, and we look forward to more route expansion in the future.”

Thai AirAsia CEO, Santisuk Klongchaiya added: “Thai AirAsia has been actively expanding our routes connecting Taipei and Kaohsiung with Japan this year, including the recent launch of the Kaohsiung-Bangkok route. We thank our Taiwanese guests for their constant support along this journey and we look forward to exploring additional routes to Thailand and Japan.”

According to statistics from the Japan National Tourism Organization, the tourism industry in the region has recovered to 80% of pre-pandemic levels, with a total of 25 million foreign visitors to the country between last year. Among the visitors, Taiwanese made up a total of 4.2 million visitors, showing Japan remains the top travel destination for Taiwan.

Aya Kashiwagi, the Director of the Economic Department at the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, also stated that the number of Taiwanese tourists travelling to Japan has reached new highs in the post-pandemic period. In accommodation statistics for foreign tourists across Japan’s 47 prefectures, Taiwanese consistently rank one of the top visitors, prompting profound gratitude for Taiwan’s support of Japanese tourism. In light of this, she congratulated AirAsia for opening three new routes to Japan and expressed hope that Taiwanese travellers will continue to explore and discover more hidden charms of Japan through these new connections.

The AirAsia Group currently operates nine routes from Taiwan, including Taipei to Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Manila, and Cebu, and Kaohsiung to Kuala Lumpur, Manila, and Bangkok. With the launch of these three new routes, AirAsia will offer 12 direct flights from Taiwan.

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