• Jiji

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Major Japanese airline All Nippon Airways said Tuesday that it would reduce the number of flights on 12 domestic routes due to declining travel demand amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

Some of the ANA flights to be axed, mainly those to major tourist destinations, will be transferred to low-cost carrier Peach Aviation as part of the efforts to meet a possible rise in travel demand after the COVID-19 crisis is contained.

The two airlines are under the wing of ANA Holdings Inc. The changes are included in ANA’s revised flight plans for the second half of fiscal 2021, which runs through March next year.

Daily round-trip flights will be reduced to three from the initially planned four for the route between Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and Toyama Kitokito Airport and to eight from nine for the route connecting Haneda and Hiroshima Airport.

The number will fall from four to two between Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture and New Chitose Airport near Sapporo, and from one to fewer than one between New Chitose and Naha Airport and between Naha and Sendai International Airport.

Meanwhile, services will be expanded on three routes, including the Haneda-New Chitose route, which is set to see round-trip flights increase to 17 from 16 per day.

The revised flight plans will be effective from Oct. 31 this year to March 26, 2022, in principle.

A total of 10 flights linking Central Japan International Airport, or Centrair, in Aichi Prefecture with airports in Hokkaido and Okinawa and connecting Fukuoka Airport in the southwestern prefecture of Fukuoka with Okinawa will be transferred to Peach Aviation.

The aircraft to be left surplus after the service revision will be used for cargo flights, which are seeing a rise in demand, and for extra passenger flights when demand recovers.

ANA is slated to cut 736 flights on 25 routes Sept. 1-16 to deal with the prolonged decline in travel demand, bringing the total number of flights in September down by about 34% from the business plan for fiscal 2020 drawn up before the coronavirus crisis.

Rival Japan Airlines is set to reduce flights on four routes, including that between Osaka International Airport, better known as Itami Airport, which straddles Osaka and Hyogo prefectures, and Matsuyama Airport in Ehime Prefecture, while increasing services on six routes, including those linking Itami and Naha. The changes will take effect on Oct. 31 or later.

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