Chinese airline drops free ticket offer to Japan after outcry
HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Chinese budget carrier Spring Airlines has cancelled an offer of free tickets to Japan, bowing to pressure after bloggers slammed the company online and labelled it a traitor, in a sign of heightened nationalist sentiment amid a territorial dispute.
The country's largest private low-cost carrier withdrew the offer of free round-trip tickets between Shanghai's Pudong airport and Japan's Saga prefecture, a rural area in southern Japan near the city of Fukuoka, just 2-1/2 days after it was launched.
"We cancelled the offer last night after taking into consideration the feeling of netizens," airline spokesman Zhang Wuan told Reuters.
The promotion, which would have seen customers pay just tax and surcharges totalling about 1,030 yuan (S$201), aimed to boost demand after a dispute over islands in the East China Sea cut Spring Airlines' passenger volume by half on some of its Japan routes.