JetStar Japan’s Shimojishima Inaugural flight March 2019
Photo link: http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/Carfi ... aInaugural
Here is a two-part inaugural trip reports that happened at the end of March! The first part is about what I called an “accidental” inaugural. The second part is a long time scheduled inaugural flight on Japan Airlines’ resumption of service to Seattle after an almost absent of 27 years. While I was researching my position flight to Tokyo for the Seattle flight, I came across a JetStar Japan’s inaugural flight to Shimojishima Airport on March 30. Since I was in Osaka for the week, the Narita to Shimojishima inaugural made the most sense, but in the end, the flight was sold out understandably. Then I went to the return flight, which was still available. The lowest fares were sold out but I was just grateful that I got a seat, and the exit row window seat was still available. Shimojishima Airport was originally constructed as an airport for training pilots in 1971 and opened as a private airport in 1973. There was commercial service operated by Southwest Air Lines (not the American one) and later became Japan Transocean Air until 1994 given the low demand, and the nearby Miyako Airport is sufficient enough to handle the amount of traffic serving the island. In 2017, Mitsubishi Estate Company decided to build a new passenger terminal at Shimojishima Airport, and aims to attract low cost airlines like JetStar Japan and Peach, as well as Asian low-cost airlines, like Air Asia, Hong Kong Express, and Tigerair Taiwan. The theme of the new terminal is “Your resort starts from the Airport,” which explains the open-air design and the resort-themed shops and restaurants. I have to say that Mitsubishi did an excellent job and I wish all Hawaiian airports can look like Shimojishima Airport terminal with comfortable seats, plenty of USB parts and outlets, and a good mix of indoor and outdoor seating. I will let the pictures speak for itself. Basically, this is my second JetStar Japan’s inaugural flight and the experience remained fairly positive with a pretty good souvenir bag and fun celebration all around. The Japanese really did not spare any money when it comes to inaugural flights, even when it involves a low-cost airline.
Entrance to the airport terminal and they even had the signature tree to match.
March 30, 2019
GK 324 SHI-NRT Lv1145 Arr1425 Airbus A320-200 Sharklet JA25JJ
In the end, I decided to use Okinawa Naha Airport as my base for the weekend. There is a Doubletree at Naha that is located next to the Monorail station stop and there are plenty of flights between Naha and Tokyo/Osaka, as well as between Naha and Miyako. I took the first flight of the day on March 30, which arrived Miyako Airport at 8:15am.
My JTA flight actually flew by Shimojishima Airport on our arrival to Miyako Airport.
Despite the first day of operation at Shimojishima Airport, there are two buses that can bring me from Miyako Airport to the new Shimojishima, but in the end, I decide on using a cab because I want some opportunities to take photos. The taxi driver had no issue and the long 40 minutes taxi ride was quite nice. The scenery was really nice. The cost was about 3700JPY, which was around USD$35. I felt the price was about right. There was plenty of signs, as well as staffs heading to the airport, especially on our last fifteen minutes of the ride. There were still some construction going on and around the airport. For one daily flight, the road was sufficient, but in July, there will be one more daily flight to Kansai, and then Hong Kong Express will start their first international flight beginning July 19 with thrice weekly flight.
I arrived about two hours prior to departure and the airport was busy with both passengers and press.
FDIS – only one flight
Self-service kiosks – but they no longer spilit out the usual orange-colored boarding pass… but they can issue baggage tags too.
There was a press event happening after I finished the check-in. I did not stay because it was all conduced in Japanese. I chose to walk around the airport instead.
Of course, Jetta, Jetstar Japan’s red panda mascot, was here today! Jetta was so adorable.
Restaurants and Shops at the public area
Café & Bar
Plenty of power outlets around the sitting area
Sneak peek at the Arrival hall
I headed inside the secured area soon because I wanted to take some pictures before the crowd and press arrived. Going through security was easy, as there were plenty of staffs around. Once I passed the security, I entered another area with similar shops, bars, and food courts. There were plenty of comfortable seating around. It was an open-air facility but the sea breeze was perfect to make it cool. I am not sure how it will feel in the summer months, but for late March, it was perfect.
Floor Plan in the secured area
To the left, there was an outdoor area with a giant water fountain.
To the right, there was the future international gate area.
In the middle, there was a bar, along with a café/food court and another shop on the side.
I really love this blue sofa/chair set!
Kitchen – a food court type casual eatery
Outside Observation Deck:
Too bad there is a window:
International area here:
Domestic Gate Lounge:
There are two gates now but there was obviously no jetway. You have to walk towards the plane. I don’t foresee that they will use both gates simultaneously till later when they had more flights. The new Kansai flight will arrive after Narita, so I think only gate 1 will be active for a while. Nonetheless the lounge area was very nice. I love the comfortable sofa and there are plenty of power and USB Port outlets.
Getting ready for the arrival of GK 323 – the first commercial flight arriving in 25 years
Fire truck getting ready for water salute
GK 323 landed at R/W17 late at 10:53am.
Water canon salute
Local dance group welcomed the arrival of JetStar Japan