The first of four special flights from Japan landed today in Lisbon. This is a charter operation managed by a group of Japanese tourism operators led by the JTB – Japan Travel Bureau, the largest Japanese tourism operator.
Of the four scheduled flights, three will have their arrival and departure in Lisbon, and the fourth will arrive at Lisbon Airport and depart from Porto Airport. The first three flights will be carried out in Boeing 777-200 aircraft with 245 seats from JAL – Japan Airlines, and the fourth will be carried out by ANA – All Nippon Airlines in a Boeing 777-300ER with 264 seats. This will be the first time that both airlines operate commercially in the airports of Lisbon and Porto.
Despite being sporadic and short-lived, this charter operation takes on some relevance due to its experimental nature in a market as important as the Japanese. This is the first direct operation between Japan and Portugal, and its success will surely be a lever for other operators and airlines to consider the possibility of new direct operations in the future.
It should be noted, as an anecdote, that the first flight (on 15 July) connects the two biggest airports of the VINCI Airports network (Lisbon Airport and Kansai International Airport), and that this has been a project very closely followed by both airports as to ensure the success of this experimental operation.
VINCI Airports and JTB are already working to ensure the execution of an expanded version of this operation in the summer of 2018, already considering the possibility of the traffic not being solely inbound – Japan-Portugal, but also outbound – Portugal-Japan.