Japan quake hinders air service

American, Delta and United have canceled or diverted flights.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 11, 2011 2:41PM

more business news from thestreetImage: Airline (© Christie & Cole/Corbis)By Ted Reed, TheStreet

 

The massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan disrupted air travel Friday.

 

Hundreds of flights by Japanese and international carriers were canceled and airports were closed after the earthquake struck in Tokyo. Haneda Airport later reopened several runways and Tokyo Narita reopened late Friday, but flights were slow to resume, according to press reports.

 

American Airlines (AMR) cancelled its Japanese operations Friday. The carrier said six flights inbound to Japan at the time of the earthquake were diverted to other airports, including in Osaka, Sapporo and Anchorage.

 

American said that its eastbound flights all departed Tokyo before the quake and that all of its employees and crews are safe, including Tokyo employees. American has instituted flexible travel policies for passengers whose flights involve Japan. Shares of AMR were trading 2.2% higher Friday at $6.67.

Delta (DAL) said 29 flights to and from Tokyo were canceled. Delta operates about 60 daily flights to and from Narita and Haneda airports. The carrier said that it has waived change fees for passengers using Japan airports through March 15, as long as changes are made by March 31, and that it is working to reaccommodate passengers who have been affected. Delta's shares were up 0.4% to $11.22.

 

United (UAL) said it canceled 11 Tokyo-bound flights and diverted nine other flights bound for Japan when the earthquake occurred. United said it would wave change fees for travel through March 15. United's share price was down 0.3% to $24.87 Friday afternoon.

 

Japan Airlines said the airports of Sendai, Narita, Iwate Hanamaki, Yamagata and Aomori were shut, according to Agence France-Presse, in some cases because of submerged runways.

 

Japan's All Nippon Airways said 131 domestic and international flights were canceled. In other cases, flights were diverted. Japan Airlines said 27 of its flights had been diverted.

 

Other international airlines serving Japan, including Air China, Air France, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Korean Air Lines also reported cancellations and diversions.

 

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