Posted at 12:24 p.m., Wednesday, March 26, 2003
JAL cuts two daily Honolulu flights
By Kelly Yamanouchi
Advertiser Staff Writer
The cuts represent the first major flight reductions to Hawai'i since the start of the war last week. Japan Airlines said the number of customers flying to Hawai'i has dropped 40 percent since the start of the war compared with last year.
"Due to a fall in demand attributed to the Iraq situation" the cuts were necessary, the airline said in a statement.
Japan Airlines will reduce flights from Tokyo to Honolulu to two flights per day instead of three starting April 1. For the week of April 25-May 6, it will have three daily flights to accommodate travelers for Japan's popular vacation period known as Golden Week. That's down from the four daily flights originally planned for that week. Flights from Osaka to Honolulu will be cut to one daily instead of two daily for April 1-23.
The Japan Airlines flights are on 747s that carry 380 to 410 passengers.
The drop in number of airline seats coming from Japan can have an immediate negative impact on businesses in Hawai'i that cater to Japanese tourists.
"There's almost a linear effect in our business by that kind of reduction in traffic," said Sharon Weiner, vice president for travel retailer DFS-Hawai'i. "If they're cutting from three to two flights a day, it's a one-third reduction in our revenues right there."
Japanese tourists are reluctant to fly during the war out of concern for safety and a sense that it is improper to vacation in a country while it is fighting a war.
"The decreasing number of the passengers from Japan is not because of the air-seat cuts," said David Asanuma, manager of community relations for JTB Hawaii Inc., a part of Japan's largest travel agency. "The problem is the departure side."