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Carfield
Topic Author
Posts: 2185
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 5:49 pm

JetStar Japan’s Shimojishima Inaugural flight March 2019

Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:31 pm

JetStar Japan’s Shimojishima Inaugural flight March 2019
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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.
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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.

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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.

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Floor Map
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FDIS – only one flight
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Check-in Hall:
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Self-service kiosks – but they no longer spilit out the usual orange-colored boarding pass… but they can issue baggage tags too.
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Press event:
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.
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Of course, Jetta, Jetstar Japan’s red panda mascot, was here today! Jetta was so adorable.
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Restaurants and Shops at the public area
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Café & Bar
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Plenty of power outlets around the sitting area
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Sneak peek at the Arrival hall
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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
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To the left, there was an outdoor area with a giant water fountain.
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To the right, there was the future international gate area.
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In the middle, there was a bar, along with a café/food court and another shop on the side.
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I really love this blue sofa/chair set!
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Bar menu:
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Kitchen – a food court type casual eatery
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Soba
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Airplane fishcake
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Shop
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Outside Observation Deck:
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Too bad there is a window:
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International area here:
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Domestic Gate Lounge:
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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.

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Gate 2:
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Getting ready for the arrival of GK 323 – the first commercial flight arriving in 25 years

Fire truck getting ready for water salute
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GK 323 landed at R/W17 late at 10:53am.
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Water canon salute
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Local dance group welcomed the arrival of JetStar Japan
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Carfield
Topic Author
Posts: 2185
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 5:49 pm

Re: JetStar Japan’s Shimojishima Inaugural flight March 2019

Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:34 pm

Jetta was back to greet departing passengers at Gate 1!
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Inaugural gift including Japanese pancakes filled with Miyako sea salt and red bean paste
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Boarding began at 11:26am.
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Back view of the boarding
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There were plenty of activities at the tarmac and nobody was topping you from taking photos today.
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A view of JA25JJ, the newest A320 on JetStar Japan’s fleet
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Cabin shot
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Regular seat pitch
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Exit row – my seat 13A
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Gift bag:
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Miyako Sea Salt Dorayaki (Japanese pancake filled with red bean paste)
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Notebook and small souvenirs
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First flight certificate
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Boarding was completed at 11:50am and we got a farewell from Jetta and the Shimojishima’s ground crews.
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The Okinawan crews welcoming passengers:
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We began our short taxi towards R/W35 for our takeoff!

A last look at the new terminal
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We took off from R/W35 at 12:03pm.
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Flying time was a quick two hours and five minutes, and we cruised at 39,000ft.

Seat pocket literature:
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Safety card:
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Menu:
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Many aviation enthusiasts typically asked the cockpit crews to sign their logbooks but given the special nature of today’s flight, it was impossible for pilots to fill out everyone’s book. So instead they passed out these flight information cards and the pilot made a detailed announcement in Japanese with the information for everyone to fill it out. The English version was much briefer but I guess you can always find out the information from flighradar24 later on.

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Meal service soon began at 12:20pm with those pre-ordering hot meals got service first. Unfortunately, the hot beverage came much later. They should have just pass out bottled beverages to go with the box, instead of hot beverages that required them an extra run to the galley. I did not get my hot tea till I almost finished my meal.

There are three items that you can preordered: Hamburger steak with curry sauce, vegetable fried rice, or the dish I preordered – Japanese style curry and a chicken cutlet served with steamed rice, garnished with broccoli and carrot.
The chicken was fine but portion was small again.

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I had a 500JPY food & beverage voucher included too because of the fares I bought. I decided to try this “broth rice” and basically it was another version of cup noodle. Instead of noodles, you got rice. It is almost like porridge Teow Chew style. The rice is not full broken in like porridge you have in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

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I also decided to eat my Japanese pancake for dessert!
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Just an interesting note, there were four F/As working on these flights. Two F/As will start from the front, and two F/As will start from the back, so if you are in the exit rows, you will be served last.

The return flight was much shorter due to strong tailwind.

Descent soon began at 1:42pm.
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We landed on R/W34R at 2:08pm.
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We then parked at gate 162 at 2:14pm.
We got a goodbye from the purser, pilot and CEO of JetStar Japan. I also took this cute photo of these folks saying goodbye to this child.
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A final look at JA25JJ
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In conclusion, it is a fun inaugural flight and the crews are fantastic as usual. It certainly felt unusual to fly the first flight from a brand-new terminal of a relatively new airport. The Japanese did a great job in getting ready because you felt that everything sort of went smoothly.

Thanks for reading and the next part will be about Japan Airlines’ re-entry into the Seattle market.

Carfield
 
ba724
Posts: 51
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:34 am

Re: JetStar Japan’s Shimojishima Inaugural flight March 2019

Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:53 pm

Good TR ! Would have been a thrill to be on the flight I am sure.Jetstar really put on the VIP treatment for the passengers. Fly out from Shimojishima looked beautiful,thanks for posting ,most enjoyable report.
 
User avatar
OzarkD9S
Posts: 5549
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2001 2:31 am

Re: JetStar Japan’s Shimojishima Inaugural flight March 2019

Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:55 am

I really want a pair of those Jet* sunglasses. :)
"True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain." -Mercutio
 
moa999
Posts: 869
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:37 am

Re: JetStar Japan’s Shimojishima Inaugural flight March 2019

Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:43 am

Great detailed report.

Love the look of the new airport - very modern, yet definitely Japanese with all the wood and detail.
 
planemad1
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 12:01 am

Re: JetStar Japan’s Shimojishima Inaugural flight March 2019

Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:57 am

Really enjoyed that. Something different! ;)
 
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christao17
Posts: 924
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:14 pm

Re: JetStar Japan’s Shimojishima Inaugural flight March 2019

Sat Apr 20, 2019 6:31 am

What a charming airport! Thanks for sharing.
More than a dozen years flying in and around Asia...
 
Redwood839
Posts: 228
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:26 am

Re: JetStar Japan’s Shimojishima Inaugural flight March 2019

Tue Apr 23, 2019 3:28 pm

That has got to be the cutest airport in the world.

Thanks for sharing
 
penguins
Posts: 429
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:52 pm

Re: JetStar Japan’s Shimojishima Inaugural flight March 2019

Sun Apr 28, 2019 3:56 pm

Wow, that airport really displays island character. I would definitely enjoy spending a couple of hours there.

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