International flights to Fukushima to resume after 13-year hiatus(福島の国際定期便、13年ぶり再開へ)

Fukushima Airport(福島空港)

 Regular flights will start between Fukushima and Taiwan at the end of March 2024, marking the return of regular international flights at Fukushima Airport for a 13-year hiatus.
 The Fukushima prefectural government last month signed a memorandum of understanding with low-cost carrier Tigerair Taiwan and a Taiwan travel agency, paving the way for flights between the prefecture and island. The flights will be the first regular service between the two.


 Regular international flights to and from the airport have been suspended since the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and the ensuing accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
 From January, regular charter flights between the airport and Taoyuan International Airport in Taiwan will operate in both directions twice weekly. This is expected to become a formal service from the end of March.


 Since 1999, regular international flights to Fukushima Airport had followed two routes -- one from Shanghai, one from Seoul. However, they were stopped following the 2011 disaster. The prefectural government has been trying to stimulate demand, especially in East Asia, to get back regular flights. Taiwan has been the most receptive, with islanders' strong interest in the prefecture's scenery and food resulting in 356 charter flights since the disaster. A total of 42,590 passengers have visited the prefecture via these flights.


 "The launch of regular international flights will give a powerful boost to Fukushima's tourism industry," Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori said at the memorandum signing ceremony held at the airport. "This could be a major boon to the prefecture's rebuilding."


 Use of the airport, which opened in 1993, has fallen off in recent years due to the earthquake, nuclear accident and COVID-19 pandemic. The prefectural government hopes the Taiwan flights will lead to more international routes.

( Translated by The Japan News )


 【 2023年9月6日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】