Jetstar Asia resumes direct flights to Okinawa, Latest Travel News - The New Paper

Jetstar Asia resumes direct flights to Okinawa

Jetstar Asia has resumed direct flights to Okinawa, more than 3½ years after its last flight to the popular tourist destination in south Japan.

The first resumed flight – on a sold-out Airbus A320 – took off on Nov 30 from Changi Airport at 2.18am and arrived at Naha Airport at around 8.30am (Japan time), the low-cost carrier announced on the same day.

Jetstar Asia, which is the only airline to operate direct flights between Singapore and Okinawa, had paused such flights in March 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But in July, it announced the route would return, citing strong demand.

Jetstar Asia will operate three return services a week, which can carry some 1,000 passengers between Singapore and Okinawa every week, or over 54,000 in a year.

The direct flight to Okinawa – which is just over six hours long – is the second Japanese route Jetstar Asia has resumed. The first was to Osaka, which relaunched a week earlier, the carrier added.

Jetstar Asia’s chief executive officer Barathan Pasupathi said: “From its pristine beaches and delicious food to its unique cultural experiences, Okinawa caters to those seeking both relaxation and adventure.

“Japan remains high on the wish list for many travellers, and we are committed to expanding our network, enhancing connectivity, supporting tourism and helping our customers create incredible memories.”

Mr Heat Ikehara, director of the Singapore representative office in the Okinawa prefectural government, said: “I would like to thank Jetstar and Japan National Tourism Organisation from the bottom of my heart for making the relaunch of this route happen.

“Okinawa is the closest part of Japan to Singapore and offers a unique mix of various cultures, as well as untouched nature, such as the World Natural Heritage Site of Yanbaru and Iriomote Island, which is surrounded by crystal clear blue sea.”

A check on Jetstar Asia’s website shows that the earliest available date for a flight to Naha Airport is Dec 3, with the fare starting from $799. All flights before that seem to be sold out.

Prior to Jetstar’s resumption of its Okinawa route, those in Singapore were able to visit Okinawa by making at least one stop-over.

A check on Singapore Airlines’ website shows an option that would see passengers transit at Osaka’s Kansai International Airport for 1 hr 25 min, with the total duration of the journey to Okinawa being around 10 hours.

Japan Airlines, meanwhile, offers passengers the option to transfer at either Narita International Airport or Haneda Airport in Tokyo, which would result in a journey of around 14 hours.

Okinawa, Japan’s southernmost prefecture, is made up of around 160 islands and is known for its beaches and rich culture.

The island is also popular with those who wish to catch a glimpse of the cherry blossoms at the beginning of the year.