Bamboo Airways announced that it plans to begin flights to Japan, with an inaugural flight to Ibaraki scheduled for April 29. Ibaraki Prefecture is located in the northeastern part of the Kanto (greater Tokyo) region, and has a population of 2.9 million people.
Bamboo’s flights will be to Ibaraki Airport in the city of Omitama. The airport is located about 85 kilometers (53 miles) north of Tokyo, and is intended to serve as a low-cost alternative to Tokyo's larger Narita and Haneda airports. One advantage of Ibaraki is its closer access to Tsukuba Science City (via roadway), where the highest concentration of technology firms exists in Japan.
Bamboo Airways and government officials from both Japan and Vietnam said that they expect that the new flights will promote cooperation between Vietnam and Ibaraki in a range of fields including agriculture, science, technology, tourism and trade, while also enhancing bilateral relations between the two countries.
Duong Thi Mai Hoa, Vice President and Deputy General Director of Bamboo Airways, said that: “Ibaraki is a leading industrial production location in Japan, and is famous for its high-level agriculture and the growth of tourism thanks to its natural scenery and unique traditional culture.”
Ibaraki Prefecture Governor, Oigawa Kazuhiko said that flights from Vietnam to Ibaraki would bring major benefits to bilateral cooperation efforts, including the addition of quality human resources to Japan.
According to tourism industry officials, there is an increasing demand for transportation and travel between Japan and Vietnam. Japan is the second largest investor in Vietnam and many Japanese companies are active in the Vietnam market and have made a variety of investments into manufacturing, real estate, retail and service industries.
In the field of tourism, Vietnam has become an increasingly popular destination for Japanese tourists and is their second most-favored destination in Southeast Asia. The number of Vietnamese tourists visiting Japan has also increased dramatically, with 390,000 Vietnamese visiting Japan in 2018.
According to Bamboo’s vice-president, Duong Thi Mai Hoa, Japan is an important link in the company’s strategy to link Southeast Asia with Northeast Asia. After launching its flights to Ibaraki this month, the airline says that it will continue its expansion and is planning for flights to Fukushima, Komatsu and Wakayama prefectures as well as Okinawa.
In addition to its flights to Japan, Bamboo also has plans to also begin flights to Singapore and South Korea in April. In addition to the international flights the airline has planned, it is also flying 17 domestic routes in Vietnam. In order to serve both its domestic and international routes, the airline signed an agreement with Airbus Industries that will see it expand its fleet to include 50 Airbus A321 neo aircraft.