Singapore Airlines (SIA) will suspend two of its four flights between Changi Airport and Tokyo’s Haneda airport from Sunday, March 27, 2011.
Flights SQ635 and SQ636, operating between the two gateaways, will cease temporarily due to slump in travel demand, said the carrier’s spokesperson. “We are seeing a weakening demand in and out of Tokyo due to the situation in Japan.” SIA began flying to the revamped Haneda Airport on October 31, 2010.
The airline will waive administrative fees for refund, re-booking or re-routing for customers holding confirmed tickets issued on or before March 11, 2011, for travel to and from all cities in Japan from March 11 to May 8, 2011, both dates inclusive. This also applies to KrisFlyer redemption tickets.
Earlier this week, SIA also anounced it will indefinitely delay deploying the new Airbus A380 on the Singapore-Tokyo-Los Angeles route, which is currently operated by a Boeing B747-400 (see story here).
The latest developments are part of the continuing fall out from the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit the Miyagi prefecture on March 11, damaging nuclear reactors and affecting the nation’s daily life in a variety of disquieting ways.
The prevailing nuclear scare has not spared Tokyo, 140km south of Sendai, the city most devastated by the catastophe. Employee concerns and uncertain conditions, saw the shutdown of the Shangri-La (see news) as well as Tokyo Disneyland and its hotels. The local Disneyland management said that the closure is due to the irregular supply of electricity and the various safety checks that are being carried out, although it claimed that the theme park and its other facilities did not incur significant damage from the earthquake.
Hotels in the capital, which have continued to operate do so on a very limited scale. One is the Mandarin Oriental in Nihonbashi, whose general manager Christian Hassing said: “the staff want us to go on”, adding that “they have been simply outstanding”.
Other airlines serving Japan have returned to normal services since having experienced disruption after the earthquake and the days following it. Spokespersons for Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines and Thai Airways said they had not as yet trimmed any services to Narita or Haneda airports. However, the MAS executive admitted that their flights to Japan showed a decline to almost half capacity, while flights from Japan showed a significant increase in passenger numbers.
Dragonair (KA) flies to three destinations in Japan, including Sendai, which is a seasonal scheduled activity from December to February. The twice-weekly Okinawa flights, ending on March 28, is tentatively scheduled to resume in early July, subject to the market situation.KA’s daily flights to Fukuoka are not affected.
Business Traveller will continue to feature the latest updates on the Japan situation once developments warrant them.
Margie T Logarta