Golden Week is the longest vacation period of the year for many Japanese jobs. Many Japanese take paid time off on the intervening work days, but some companies also close down completely and give their employees time off. Golden Week is an extremely popular time to travel. Flights, trains, and hotels are often fully booked despite significantly higher rates at this time.
According to Japan Airlines Group (JAL), passenger traffic on international and domestic routes for the traditional Japanese Golden Week vacation, stretching for 8 days this year from April 28 to May 5, 2010, the number of passengers on international flights were down, but domestic flights fared well.
During this period, JAL carried 234,152 passengers on international flights – 13.8 percent down against the same period in 2009, and 1,016,046 passengers on domestic flights, 10.8 percent up against a year before.
The seat capacity on JAL international passenger routes is 21.6 percent less than last year. By region, there were cancellations due to the active volcano in Iceland, as well as the unrest in Bangkok, while traffic to Taiwan and Oceania showed a minor increase. The resulting overall load factor is 80.0 percent, which represents an increase of 7.1 percentage points against previous year.
There is a significant increase in passenger numbers on domestic flights to most regions in Japan this holiday season, while capacity was trimmed down by 4.3 percent from the same period last year. Consequently, the seat load factor of domestic flights is 10.1 percentage points higher than previous year at 74.4 percent.
JAL Group operated 28 additional flights including charter, to such international destinations as Honolulu, Guam, Palau, Bali, Cairns, Sanya in China, and Cebu in the Philippines, as well as 54 flights on domestic Japan routes to support the demand for travel to such areas as Okinawa (Naha), as well as Sapporo.