Japan Airlines cuts
7 Hawaii flights

Star-Bulletin staff and news services

Japan Airlines Co. will cut flights until March 31 because of falling travel demand on routes to the United States, the carrier said.

Japan Air Lines Asia's largest carrier plans to cut the weekly number of flights from Japan to Hawaii to 68 from 75 for the winter months. As part of that, Japan Airlines will reduce its daily Tokyo-Honolulu flights to three from four.

"I think that during the summer, it was not as busy as we expected it to be so the demand is not as great," said Gilbert Kimura, regional sales manager for Japan Airlines. The company had previously been confident that Japan-Hawaii travel was recovering from Sept. 11, but assurances began to dwindle this month.

The carrier also said it intends to operate three flights a week to Las Vegas in the November-March period, compared with a previous plan for five a week, the carrier said.

Japan's slowing economy is prompting the country's consumers and businesses to put off trips abroad. The government said last week domestic demand for services fell 0.3 percent in the quarter ended June 30.

Demand for travel to Hawaii in May "seemed to be picking up faster than we had earlier thought. However, momentum has not been maintained," Japan Airlines spokesman Geoff Tudor told Bloomberg News. Trans-Pacific demand has still not recovered to pre-Sept. 11 levels, he said.

The carrier will also reduce the number of flights on its Tokyo-Paris route to 10 from 11 and on its Nagoya-Beijing route to two from three.

Japan Airlines will increase to 21 from 14 the number of flights to Bangkok from Tokyo, the carrier said.

If demand does pick up in the winter, such as around New Year's Eve, Japan Airlines has the flexibility to add flights, Kimura said.

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