CAL to launch Tainan-Osaka services in Oct.
China Airlines (CAL, ), one of Taiwan’s leading international carriers, said Thursday that it will launch a Tainan-Osaka route in October to tap the growing enthusiasm in Southern Taiwan toward travel to Japan thanks to the Japanese yen’s depreciation.
CAL said that from Oct. 28, the carrier will kick off the new regular services, providing two roundtrip flights between Tainan and Osaka each week. The carrier said it will use narrow-body Boeing 737-800s on the new route.
From 2013, CAL has been providing charter flight services between Tainan and Hong Kong and the carrier said the launch of Tainan-Osaka regular flights is expected to boost business opportunities for the tourism industry in Southern Taiwan.
The Japan market has been one of the most important sales sources for CAL as Japanese cities such as Osaka and Tokyo are popular destinations for Taiwanese tourists, market analysts said.
The plunge in value of the yen has prompted many local tourists to take advantage of the foreign exchange gains enjoyed by New Taiwan dollar users, they said.
Currently, the carrier provides 21 round trip regular flights between Taipei and Osaka and 12 regular round trip flights between Kaohsiung and Osaka per week. Once the Tainan-Osaka services are inaugurated, the number of weekly regular flights offered by CAL to Osaka from Taiwan will rise to 35.
In addition to Osaka, CAL has started serving Southern Taiwan by providing seven round- trip flights between Kaohsiung and Tokyo per week, seven round- trip flights between Kaohsiung and Okinawa, and five round-trip flights between Kaohsiung and Hokkaido.
With the new Tainan- Osaka services, some local travel agencies have unveiled related tour packages, including a five- day tour of Osaka with a four-night hotel stay, which will depart every Saturday, with a starting price tag of NT$15,200 (US$492) before tax per person.
The package will take tourists to Osaka, as well as neighboring Kyodo and Nara, while a visit to the famous hot spring resort Arima Onsen will be included in the program, travel agencies said.
The agencies also said they will offer discounts on hotel stays to Japanese visitors to Tainan, while the Tainan city government will distribute vouchers in Osaka to encourage Japanese tourists to shop in the Southern Taiwan city.