July 16, 2008

JAL in Talks to Scrap Sendai-Kansai, Naha Flights

Tokyo, July 16 (Jiji Press)--Japan Airlines is considering abolishing flights connecting Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, with Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture and Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, by March 2009, it was learned Wednesday.

JAL is holding negotiations with local governments and communities on the withdrawal, which is part of the company's plan to streamline its flight operations to deal with higher fuel costs, informed sources said.

Currently, JAL operates a round trip a day between Sendai, northeastern Japan, and the Kansai airport in western Japan, and between Sendai and Naha, southern Japan, The Sendai-Naha flights are open only in December and January.

Including the two Sendai routes, JAL plans to shut down a total of seven routes. The other five are those between Fukushima and Osaka International Airport at Itami, Kansai and Naha, between Chubu International Airport in central Japan and Fukuoka, and between Kansai and Akita.

The airline is also considering abolishing or reducing flights on other routes, the sources said.

Separately, new airline Star Flyer is studying the abolition or a reduction of its flights between Tokyo International Airport at Haneda and the Kansai airport, sources said.

Star Flyer launched the flights in September last year and currently operates four round trips on the route.END

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