FUKUOKA – KLM Royal Dutch Airlines launched a direct fight service between Fukuoka and Amsterdam on Thursday, becoming the first carrier to regularly connect the city with Europe.
A KLM Boeing 777 jet carrying about 300 passengers landed at Fukuoka airport at around 8 a.m., with fire trucks on a taxiway spraying an arch of water to welcome the aircraft.
Fukuoka Gov. Hiroshi Ogawa, Fukuoka Mayor Soichiro Takashima and other officials applauded the plane’s arrival at a welcoming ceremony.
KLM said the 12-hour flights leave every week from Fukuoka on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, while those from Amsterdam depart on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
At a news conference at the airport, KLM Managing Director Pieter Elbers expressed hope that the carrier will draw more visitors from Kyushu to Europe via Amsterdam, now that Kyushu has a bullet-train network.