Japan Tobacco Inc. asked Japan Airlines Wednesday to reconsider a plan announced last week to ban smoking on all international flights starting next spring.
Masaru Mizuno, president of the formerly state-owned cigarette firm, asked JAL to continue providing some seats for passengers who want to smoke.
He is scheduled to make the same request today of All Nippon Airways, which also announced it will ban smoking on its 47 international routes starting March 28.
ANA President Kichisaburo Nomura said the decision was prompted by the company’s desire to follow the global trend of restricting smoking.
JAL officials, who will eliminate smoking sections on 92 flights starting April 1, said the decision was based on results of an airline survey that showed some 80 percent of about 10,000 passengers felt in-flight smoking should be banned, they said.
Following in the trend, Japan Asia Airways, an affiliate of JAL, will also ban smoking on its flights to and from Taiwan in November.
After hearing the plans last Wednesday, JT immediately issued a statement that said the nonsmoking measures would unfairly force smokers to endure hardships. The smoking ban by the two major Japanese airlines means more than 80 percent of seats on international flights departing from Japan will be nonsmoking, the officials said.
Smoking was earlier banned on all flights of 22 foreign airlines using Japanese airports, they said.
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