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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 12:01 p.m., Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Japan Airlines to cut 7 flights to Hawai'i

Advertiser Staff and News Services

Japan Airlines Co. announced today that it will cut seven of its weekly flights to Hawai'i as demand from Japanese tourists continues to sag.

Asia's largest carrier said it will cut weekly flights to the Islands from 75 to 68 for Oct. 1 through March 31. The cuts include one of its four daily flights from Tokyo to Honolulu.

Demand for travel to Hawai'i in May "seemed to be picking up faster than we had earlier thought. However, momentum has not been maintained," said Japan Airlines spokesman Geoff Tudor.

Japan Airlines said passengers flying to Hawai'i and the Mainland were down by more than 18 percent in the peak summer travel season of July 20 to Aug. 18. Japanese arrivals to the Islands are off 10 percent to 15 percent from a year ago.

"Hawai'i is kind of soft, but demand from Japan to Korea and especially to China has really grown, so they're a destination that is surging," said Gilbert Kimura, sales director for Japan Airlines in Honolulu.

The cut is another signal of trouble for the state's tourism industry, still struggling to get back to where it was before Sept. 11.

Japan's slowing economy and continuing fears of terrorism after Sept. 11 is prompting the country's consumers and businesses to put off trips abroad or travel to less-expensive Asian destinations.

Advertiser Staff Writer Kelly Yamanouchi and a Bloomberg News story contributed to this report.