Feb 10, 2010

Schok wave from Vladivostok Air

Based on the fact that the 2-weekly direct flight between 2 cities takes less than 2 hours and 2 cities had established friendship agreement since 1965, the Catholic Diocese of Niigata decided to establish an exchange program with the Catholic parish in Khabarovsk. We have sent several delegations from Niigata for past 2 years and received visitors from Khabarovsk. In fact, we are planning a summer exchange program for youth in August. Then lo and behold, a bad news from the airline was announced yesterday of reducing frequency of the flight from twice a week to once a week. At present, there are 2 flights between Niigata and Khabarovsk on Mondays and Fridays. According to the announcement, from April this year, there will be only one flight on Wednesdays. Why? Because the Vladivostok Air which has been operating the flight between Niigata and Khabarovsk decided to operate twice a week charter flights between Narita and Khabarovsk for 2010 summer schedule. I do understand the decision of the company. It must be very much attractive for them to shift the airport from this small town, Niigata to the megalopolis, Tokyo. However, I think Narita will not be the best choice for the year-round operation for the flight between Japan and Khabarovsk. It has been said by many but distance from downtown Tokyo is too far, or Narita is too big for passenger, or sometimes it takes more than an hour to get out from the airport from touch down, or there are too few domestic connection to and from Narita. If the airline is after the big supply of tourist group, then Narita would be the best choice. But as far as I know, there are not so much demand for that kind of the passenger for the flight.

Any way, I just pray that the Vladivostok air will respect the history of friendship between 2 cities and do their best to retain this historical flight between Niigata and Khabarovsk so that we can also continue our exchange program between 2 local churches.


  1. I can not tell, how happy I am to hear about the direct flights from Narita to Khabarovsk. It will be much better for Russian people who live in Tokyo. It took me and my family a whole day and much money to get from Tokyo to Niigata first and then to Khabarovsk. Haneda airport in Tokyo is getting ready to become more open for international flights, too. There might be a possibility of a flight from Haneda to Khabarovsk in the future. I understand your sadness, but I'm sure if the only flight a week from Niigata will be full all year around, Vladivostok Avia will schedule one more.

  2. Thank you for the comment. As a matter of fact, Niigata airport or local government was too late to realise the necessity to improve access to the Niigata airport and to promote more domestic flights to connect to the international flights. It is too late but much more could have done in Niigata.