JAPAN. Japan Airlines System and All Nippon Airways will this month begin operating charter flights between Tokyo International Airport in Haneda and Gimpo Airport in Seoul – a move that will reduce travel time between the cities by more than an hour.

Both airports are mainly used by domestic traffic (Gimpo, originally known as Kimpo, used to be Seoul’s international airport before Incheon was opened), though Haneda has some international charter business

Although fares between the two locations are likely to be higher than between Tokyo Narita and Seoul Incheon airports, both airlines are expecting heavy traffic, especially from business travellers, due to the time saving. Narita and Incheon are much further away from the respective city centres. The time it takes to get from downtown Tokyo to the airport will be cut by 30-50 minutes, and in Seoul the time saved will be 30 minutes.

The first flight on the route will be on 30 November. The two Japanese carriers, as well as Korean Air and Asiana Airlines of South Korea, will each make one round trip a day.

JATCO runs the Haneda airport duty free shops. Korea National Tourism Organization (KNTO) and other operators are eyeing the new duty free concession at Gimpo.

The ministry estimates that up to half a million passengers will use the Gimpo-Haneda shuttles annually.