Japan Airlines Corp. said Friday it will suspend three of its seven daily round-trip flights to China from Oct. 10 to 27 because many tourists are cancelling over sovereignty protests triggered by the Senkaku dispute.
A round-trip flight between Narita airport and Beijing, one between Narita and Shanghai, and another between Kansai International Airport and Shanghai will temporarily be halted, JAL said.
This will reduce its 14 weekly flights between Narita and Beijing to seven, and its 21 flights a week between Narita and Shanghai to 14. Flights between Kansai airport and Shanghai, meanwhile, will be halved to seven.
The cancellations have been prompted by massive demonstrations across China, some violent, to protest Japan’s nationalization last week of three of the Senkaku islets, which are claimed by Beijing and Taiwan, in the East China Sea.
“We have no choice but to do this considering the balance between demand and supply,” an official at the carrier said.
All Nippon Airways Co., JAL’s biggest domestic rival, said it has no plans to change its flight schedule but is monitoring developments nonetheless in light of safety concerns.
China Southern Airlines Co. and other Chinese carriers also have pared services to Japan as a boycott prompted about 40 percent of Chinese holidaymakers headed to Japan to cancel trips last week, according to Citigroup Inc.
Cancellation rates for vacations in Japan may rise further ahead of the weeklong Chinese holiday that starts Oct. 1, Citigroup analysts Vivian Tao and Rigan Wong wrote in a note Friday, adding the effect on Chinese carriers will be “manageable.”