Hokkaido International Airlines Co., a new entry in the country’s aviation industry, applied Friday with the Transport Ministry to offer regular service between Tokyo and Sapporo starting Oct. 30.

“We are now standing at the starting line. Hokkaido has been very much affected by the stagnant economy. People in Hokkaido have great expectations, and our responsibility is significant,” Akira Nakamura, president of the Sapporo-based firm, told reporters.

The company, nicknamed “Air Do,” was founded in 1996 as a way to revitalize the regional economy by linking the prefecture to the Tokyo metropolitan area, and 1,881 local firms and individuals helped provide the financing.

Although Nakamura said the carrier will take a low-fare approach, the company has yet to set its fares, except for an upper limit of 26,469 yen for a one-way ticket between the two cities. The carrier plans to offer three flights a day between the two cities with a 286-seat Boeing 767-300ER.

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