• Kyodo

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Troubled Hokkaido International Airlines, known as Air Do, has asked the Hokkaido Prefectural Government for additional financial assistance due to the likelihood of operational-fund shortages in coming months, industry sources said Wednesday.

The Hokkaido government is considering the request, the sources said.

Air Do, which was founded November 1996 to provide low-fare services between Tokyo and Sapporo, met with stiff competition from major carriers and fell into serious financial difficulties last year.

At that time, the Hokkaido government and a group of local investors, eager to keep the airline going, each invested 1 billion yen into Air Do. The Sapporo city government invested 500 million yen.

This nevertheless fell short of the 3 billion yen sought by the airline.

Earlier this month, the airline turned to the public for investments, but with the Friday deadline for investment applications nearing, the airline is unlikely to meet its goal, the sources said.

The likelihood Air Do will experience a shortage of operational funds in June, which falls during the off-season for the airline business, has forced it to seek additional financial assistance from the Hokkaido government.

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