International flights to Okinawa increase
Hong Kong Express LCC will start daily direct flights between Hong Kong and Naha on Sep. 26th. The low-cost carrier already operates regular flights from Hong Kong to Ishigaki and from Hong Kong to Shimoji Island off Miyako and the new route is its third to a destination in Okinawa making the first foreign airline operating three international routes to destinations within the prefecture.
The flights from Hong Kong to Naha depart at 7:05 a.m. from Hong Kong and arrive 10:35 a.m. at Naha airport. Departures from Okinawa take off between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. at six different times depending on the day.
According to Okinawa Prefecture officials, many tourists from East Asia currently visit Okinawa. The aim is to promote travel to smaller islands in the prefecture, encourage the visitors to stay longer and make repeat trips to Okinawa. Prefecture officials are also expecting the number of international routes to the prefecture increase and are planning to invite more foreign companies from Taiwan and other countries to cooperate in the effort.
The number of direct flights between Naha and Singapore is also set to increase, Currently, Jet Star Asia LCC operates four round trips per week on the route, but the number will increase to five round trips from Oct. 29th.
Currently, the flights between Naha and Singapore depart on Sunday, Monday, Thursday, and Friday. The fifth weekly round trip flight will be scheduled for Tuesday. The flights depart from Singapore at 2 p.m. and arrive at Naha at 8:10 a.m. The departure from Naha is at 9:10 a.m. and the flight arrives at Singapore 1:20 p.m.
Most visitors from Malesia and Indonesia come to Okinawa via Singapore’s Changi Airport and as the number of visitors from those countries increases, more flights are necessary.
Takato Hiraga (平賀敬人), the chief of the Okinawa Prefecture Singapore Office, says that the increase in the number of fights is evidence that awareness of Okinawa is improving. He also urges Okinawan people to come and enjoy Singapore.