Wednesday, March 26, 2003

JAL cuts
isle flights as
demand tumbles

The carrier is reducing
service both from Osaka
and Tokyo to Honolulu

Star-Bulletin staff and wire

Japan Airlines, Asia's biggest carrier, is cutting flights on some international routes, including Honolulu, because of falling demand caused by passengers' concerns over the war in Iraq.

Japan Air Lines JAL, which is merging with another Japanese carrier to become Japan Airlines Systems Corp., said it will reduce weekly flights on the Tokyo-Honolulu route to 14 from 21 in April. For May, they will be reduced to 21 from 28 a week.

The Osaka-Honolulu route will be cut to seven a week from 14 between April 1 and April 23.

In addition, the airline will cut flights to Guam, Seoul, Paris and Bali, Indonesia, Kyodo news service reported.

Gilbert Kimura, JAL's sales manager in Honolulu, said he had not been notified of such a change It would mean one flight a day instead of two, he said.

JAL has made no cuts in its Hawaii service so far and the Honolulu office has been told there won't be cuts unless the load really drops, Kimura said.

"From Tokyo and Osaka we have multiple flights," and if there really is a drop in demand, passengers from a couple of flights could be consolidated into one flight, Kimura said.

All the Japanese who want to come to Hawaii will get seats, he said. "We hope they will continue to come."

The number of passenger's on JAL's Hawaii flights have been down by 40 percent since the war began, Kimura said earlier this week. The drop is likely to continue through the duration of the war, he said.

JAL flies three flights a day to Honolulu from Tokyo and three from Osaka, as well as services to Hawaii from other airports in Japan.

JAL is also planning to raise fares by an average of 3 percent, starting in April.

Separately, United Airlines said it was canceling one of its two daily flights between Tokyo and Chicago.

Star-Bulletin reporter Russ Lynch, Bloomberg News and th e Associated Press contributed to this report.

Japan Airlines

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