On Tue., Nov. 6, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines held a press conference at the Fukuoka Hilton Sea Hawk Hotel. Dignitaries including H.E. Mr. Radinck J. van Vollenhoven, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Japan, Mr. Roderick Wols, Consul General, Osaka, Mr. Hiroshi Ogawa, Governor of Fukuoka Prefecture, and Mr. Soichiro Takashima, Mayor of Fukuoka City attended. Representing the airline was Mr. Luc Delaplace, General Manager for Japan, Mr. Mark Arxhoek, Japan Sales Director, and Mr. Nicolas Saignat, Cargo Japan & Korea General Manager.
As previously announced the three flights a week service between Fukuoka and Amsterdam will begin on April 3, 2013. Departures from Amsterdam will be at 14:40 on Wed., Fri., and Sun. and arrive in Fukuoka at 08:20 the following day. Departures from Fukuoka will be on Mon., Thu., and Sat. at 10:20 and arrive in Amsterdam at 15:05 the same day. Boeing 777-200ER with seating capacity of 318 (283 economy and 35 business) will be used for the 11 hour flight.
This will be the first and only direct connection by air to Europe from Kyushu. Kyushu and Holland have enjoyed a long history and relationship beginning some 400 years ago with Dutch trading ships visiting Nagasaki. Interestingly, Fukuoka City’s Dontaku Festival, one of the city’s largest and oldest, takes its name from the Dutch word Zondag (meaning holiday). Initially the airline expects to carry more Japanese travellers to Europe compared to European to Kyushu. However the recent extension of the Kyushu Shinkansen and other infrastructure improvements are making Kyushu a more enticing and practical destination for visitors from Europe. Both the Mayor of Fukuoka City and the Governor of Fukuoka Prefecture voiced strong support for this new service and it’s potential positive impact for the region. KLM’s website: http://www.klm.com/travel/jp_en/