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United Airlines To Increase Tokyo Capacity By 13%

Date: October 10, 2022

United Airlines To Increase Tokyo Capacity By 13%

United is upping flights to Tokyo after Japan lifted its daily passenger cap.

By PRANJAL PANDE 10/10/2022, Simple Flying

United Airlines is increasing its capacity to Tokyo by 13% following the Japanese government's decision to remove daily limits on passengers. From November onward, United's Houston service will move from 4x weekly to daily, while connections from Newark and Los Angeles will see larger aircraft deployed.

Japan is open once again

Two and a half years after first shutting its borders, Japan is once again fully open to international visitors. While travel guidelines still apply, the notorious daily passenger cap will be gone from Tuesday onward, allowing airlines to fly in and out as many travelers as they can from the country.

United is jumping on the chance to increase capacity to Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT). According to NHK, the US carrier's four-times-weekly flight from Houston Airport to Narita (UA6/7) will be increased to daily services using the Boeing 777-200ER. Meanwhile, existing flights from Newark Airport (EWR) and Los Angeles Airports (LAX) will see equipment upgrades to increase daily seats.

United's daily flight from Newark to Tokyo Narita, UA78/79, will be upgraded from a Boeing 787-9 to 777-300ER, adding nearly 100 more daily seats between the cities. Meanwhile, UA32/33 from LAX to NRT is seeing a bump from the Boeing 787-9 to the -10, adding 60 seats for passengers.

Expecting strong demand

According to United's Head of Worldwide Sales, Doreen Burse, the carrier is hoping that demand recovery to Japan will follow a similar trajectory seen in other reopening countries like Singapore and Australia. Indeed, traffic has ramped up significantly to both countries since they dropped most COVID requirements late last year and earlier this year.

Travel between Japan and the US is a lucrative market for airlines, with 1.9 million passengers in 2019, aided by strong business and premium leisure travel. Indeed, the LAX-Tokyo route is serviced by no fewer than five airlines, with each US carrier operating flights to Japan from key cities.

Japanese carriers ANA and Japan Airlines had already boosted capacity to the US previously, meaning that we will see more moderate capacity increases in the coming months.

New entry requirements

While Japan was closed to much of the world through 2020-22, this is set to change on Tuesday (and airlines globally are responding too). Starting October 11th, visa-free agreements will resume, allowing many to travel to the country without a visa stamp. However, not all restrictions are gone just yet. Passengers are required to either show proof of triple vaccination (two doses + booster) or a negative COVID test taken 72 hours before departure to enter the country.

These requirements make Japan an outlier compared to much of Europe and North America, but is in line with many Asian nations, which still take precautions against COVID. However, if you've got all your doses, then Japan is open once more to all tourists and if you act fast, you may be able to enjoy the country with little to no other foreign tourists!

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