|CAL e-News |
China Airlines made history today (October 11) with the launch of charter flights between two cities in Taiwan and Japan with identically named airports. While Taipei Songshan Airport and Matsuyama Airport in Ehime Prefecture are spelled differently in English, ¡§Songshan¡¨ and ¡§Matsuyama¡¨ are the same characters in Chinese and Japanese writing. China Airlines dispatched a Boeing 737-800 passenger aircraft for the occasion, which was celebrated in both Taiwan and Japan. Passengers on the inaugural flight were given special boarding passes printed with the same ¡§to¡¨ and ¡§from¡¨ airports.
With the support of Taipei City, Ehime Prefecture and Matsuyama City governments, China Airlines will offer a second Songshan-Matsuyama charter flight on October 14, three days after the inaugural flight. In local times, today¡¦s inaugural flight (CI7676) departed at 08:15 from Taipei Songshan Airport and landed in Ehime Prefecture¡¦s Matsuyama Airport at 11:35. The return flight (CI7677) took off at 12:45 and landed at 14:30. When the Boeing 737-800 aircraft, carrying 158 passengers at full capacity, first landed in Matsuyama and a few hours later in Taipei, it was sprinkled with water as a mark of welcome and celebration.
To celebrate the inaugural Songshan-Matsuyama charter flight, China Airlines assigned two pilots with a special connection to Matsuyama and Taipei Songshan Airport, respectively. Captain Hamashima Yoshiki traveled to Matsuyama frequently to visit his son, while co-pilot Chen Chien-hsun served his military duty at the air force base next to Taipei Songshan Airport and is therefore experienced in taking off from and landing at the airport. In addition, China Airlines assembled a Japanese-speaking cabin crew, led by Japanese national Masuda Kayoko, to look after passengers on the charter flights.
As memorabilia for passengers, China Airlines printed one-of-a-kind ¡§Songshan-Matsuyama¡¨ (in Chinese) boarding passes and certificates in Chinese and Japanese. It also designed a special menu of Ehime¡¦s famous ¡§goshiki somen¡¨ cold noodles with ¡§taimeshi¡¨ snapper rice, local famous sweets ¡§botchan dango¡¨, and Taiwanese-style pork chops with rice, pineapple cake, and celebratory champagne. In addition, China Airlines gave every passenger a set of eco-friendly toiletries normally reserved for Business Class, and set up a photo sticker booth at Taipei Songshan Airport to help passengers memorialize the moment.
Matsuyama in Ehime Prefecture is the largest city in Shikoku, Japan, and its Dogo Onsen is one of the three oldest hot springs in Japan. Matsuyama is also the backdrop of famed author Natsume Soseki¡¦s novels. Steeped in history, the old town of Matsuyama sits on a hilltop at the center of the city and has been converted to a historical park, known for its cherry blossoms. Sightseers can take a cable car to Matsuyama Castle, the highest structure in Mastuyama, for a panoramic view of the city. At just two hours and 20 minutes, the flight from Taipei Songshan Airport to Matsuyama Airport makes it easier than ever to explore the historic city of Matsuyama.
China Airlines currently offers 128 weekly flights to 13 destinations in 12 cities in Japan, and since launching its Taoyuan-Takamatsu route in March, it became the only airline in Taiwan to provide regular flights to Shikoku, Japan. China Airlines is committed to the Japan market and dedicated to providing travelers in Taiwan and Japan the most convenient and comfortable services.
Charter Flight Schedule