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Air France to start Haneda-Paris run

by Minoru Matsutani

Staff Writer

Air France will launch direct flights between Haneda airport in Tokyo and Paris on March 30, aiming to provide a more convenient alternative with business travelers particularly in mind.

The airline currently flies only to Narita International Airport, which is much farther from the center of Tokyo than Haneda.

There will be two round-trip flights almost every day between Haneda and Charles de Gaulle Airport, one departing in the morning and the other at night.

“We can provide great service, especially to business people who appreciate the proximity of Haneda to central Tokyo,” Air France-KLM Group Executive Vice President Patrick Alexandre said. The group was created by the merger of Air France and KLM in 2004.

Meanwhile, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will increase the frequency of flights between Fukuoka and Amsterdam this summer, adding another flight on Mondays.

As a result, Air France and KLM will have 57 flights a week between Japan and Europe. The airlines flew 1.2 million passengers on these routes last year, Alexandre said.

Some 70 to 80 percent of the passengers were Japanese, he said.

“Demand is from the Japanese. Lots of Japanese are attracted to Europe,” Alexandre said, adding that the airlines will continue to increase flights to and from Japan as needed.

He praised Japanese airports in general for their professionalism and hospitality. He also said he hopes that Haneda will accept the Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger plane.