Japan’s three major airlines on Saturday began daily shuttle flight services linking Tokyo’s Haneda airport, Itami airport in Hyogo Prefecture and Kansai International Airport near Osaka.
The new service is a Japanese version of the U.S. shuttle flight services linking Washington and New York, said officials of the three airlines — Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways and Japan Air System.
The three are providing 66 flights daily — 33 round trips — between Tokyo and Osaka, 12 more than before, they said.
Planes will depart from the airports approximately every 30 minutes, and bookings can be made through a jointly run new Web page, the airlines said.
On Saturday morning, two planes, carrying business travelers and tourists, departed from Haneda and Kansai airports at around 6:30 a.m. to launch the shuttle service.
The three airlines hope to increase the annual number of passengers who use their services from the current 4 million to overtake the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line as the most popular route between the two cities, they said.
“It remains to be solved how we should adjust our fares,” an airline official said.
“But our services provide more convenience for those planning single-day round trips than those of bullet trains, so we want as many customers as possible to utilize our services,” the official said.