Yesterday, Air Do released its midterm plan (for years 2018 to 2020). While it included the usual things such as the fact that they expect their profits to grow over the next three years, there was one line that stood out in the release to me.
Air Do and International Flights
The part of the release that stood out to me was saying that Air Do would consider operating international charter flights to East and Southeast Asia, and that it would also look into potentially launching scheduled international flights after getting the necessary data and experience from the charters.
The release does not go further than that, but it is interesting to see the airline that currently focuses on domestic flights in and out of Hokkaido planning to expand its operations overseas.
That said, it would not be the first time for Air Do to operate international flights.
In 2014, they operated a pair of flights between Sapporo New Chitose and Taipei Taoyuan using their 737-700s. And, in 2015, it operated a pair of flights from Memambetsu to Kaohsiung via Kushiro and from Kaohsiung to Kushiro via Memambetsu using its 767-300ERs.
While Air Do’s experience with international flights is minimal, it would be interesting to see the airline expand its (more or less non-existent) international operations connecting the Japanese island of Hokkaido with the rest of Asia.
Especially so, since the international traffic at Sapporo New Chitose airport (and in Hokkaido in general) has been growing rapidly thanks to the growth of Asian low-cost carriers such as AirAsia X and Jin Air and of the increasing demand from overseas travelers to visit Japanese cities other than Tokyo, yet, none of the Japanese airlines has tapped into that market in Hokkaido so far.
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