Asiana Airlines to fly Ibaraki-Incheon route+
(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) MITO, Japan, Feb. 2_(Kyodo) _ Asiana Airlines of South Korea said Monday it will operate a daily round-trip service between Incheon International Airport near Seoul and Ibaraki Airport in Omitama, Ibaraki Prefecture, due to open in March 2010.
Asiana is the first airline to announce its decision to fly to the planned airport, located about 80 kilometers northeast of Tokyo.
The Ibaraki prefectural government, which is building the new airport, initially approached domestic airlines but received a lukewarm response. Airlines have said they want to allocate resources to Narita and Haneda airports, which serve Tokyo and are both set to expand flight slot capacities.
Ibaraki Gov. Masaru Hashimoto therefore visited Asiana in Seoul in July last year to request that it use the airport.
Asiana expects to carry around 28,000 passengers a year between Incheon and Ibaraki airports. If there is enough demand, the airline will also consider operating three round-trip flights per week between Gimhae International Airport in Busan and Ibaraki Airport, it said.
Ibaraki Airport will be the third airport in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Construction of facilities is under way at the Air Self-Defense Force's Hyakuri Air Base, which will be opened for joint civil-military use in March 2010.
Copyright ? 2009 Kyodo News International, Inc.
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