My Account Menu

CAPA Login

Register to trial CAPA Membership!

Airports in north-east Japan affected by earthquake and tsunami: Airline responses - UPDATE 1


Several airports in north-east Japan have been affected by Friday’s devastating earthquake and tsunamis. None more so than Sendai Airport, which was flooded when the tsunami struck, and remains closed. Major gateways including Tokyo Narita and Haneda resumed normal operations on Saturday.

Click here for the latest CAPA Update on Japan, Monday 5pm

Sendai Airport is located adjacent to the coastline.

The following airlines have scheduled services to Sendai: Air China, Air Do, ANA, Asiana Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Continental Airlines, EVA Air, IBEX Airlines, JAL, JAL Express. Airlines serving the airport via codeshare include British Airways, KLM, Shenzhen Airlines and United Airlines.

Prior to the earthquake, ANA was the leading carrier at the airport, accounting for almost 60% of weekly seats.

The airport’s services were mostly domestic.

Click here for more information on Sendai Airport

Other airports in the region are functioning. The Tohoku (Northeast) Shinkansen high-speed railway is not operating to Northern Honshu and domestic airlines are responding by operating extra flights to airports such as Fukushima.

Japan Airlines issued a press release on Saturday, detailing its service suspensions:

  • March 11 (Friday): Domestic flights cancelled 143, passengers affected 25,530; international flights cancelled, 15 passengers affected 2660
  • March 12 (Saturday): Domestic flights cancelled 130, passengers affected 21,000; international flights cancelled 17, passengers affected 2440
  • March 13 (Sunday): Domestic flights cancelled 24, passengers affected 1560; international flights cancelled 2, passengers affected 230.

Japan Airlines operated eight extra flights on March 12 between Osaka (Itami) and Yamagata, Itami and Aomori, Sapporo and Aomori, as well as between Tokyo (Haneda) and Aomori. Additionally, Japan Airlines plans to schedule extra flights to the Tohoku region (northern Japan) from either Tokyo (Haneda) or Osaka (Itami) on March 13.

All Nippon Airways cancelled 131 services as a result of the earthquake, affecting 32,700 passengers, while a further 24 flights were diverted.

CAPA expresses its deepest sympathies to the families affected by this event. Our thoughts are with the people of Japan and for those involved in the recovery effort.

Airline updates

Japan's earthquake and tsunami have resulted in international carriers issuing the following responses:

  • Air Canada: Cancelled four services to Japan on 11-Mar-2011. Air Canada said it has no reports of injuries to any of its staff in Japan;
  • Air France-KLM Group: Diverted a flight to Osaka and delayed take-off for another in Paris by four and half hours;
  • Air France-KLM Cargo: Stated it is gradually resuming operations to Japan as of 11-Mar-2011. The carrier stated it would factor in some capacity constraints over the next few days;
  • Air India: Cancelled Tokyo services on 11-Mar-2011 but stated services to Osaka Kansai would continue to operate as scheduled. The carrier operates four weekly services to Tokyo Narita and three weekly services to Osaka;
  • Air New Zealand: Will continue services to Tokyo Narita and Osaka Kansai as scheduled with only one flight being delayed;
  • American Airlines: Resumed normal flight schedules on 13-Mar-2011. American added that it has no plans to evacuate locally based employees;
  • Asiana Airlines: Cancelled services to Japan on 11-Mar-2011. The carrier added that it would supply relief items to north-eastern Japan this week. The carrier plans to send 1500 in-flight blankets, instant noodles, mineral water and other relief items via an Incheon-Fukushima flight on 14-Mar-2011. Since Saturday, Asiana has extended support for Japan’s quake relief operations by making available mineral water and instant noodles at its branch in Narita Airport;
  • British Airways: Cancelled its Narita and Haneda flights on 11-Mar-2011 and the return legs on 12-Mar-2011;
  • Cathay Pacific: Resumed services from Tokyo on 12-Mar-2011, operating 13 services. Six of the 13 services were scheduled services and several were services delayed from 11-Mar-2011 including two Narita-bound flights that were diverted on 11-Mar-2011 to Osaka and Nagoya. The carrier stated services to Tokyo are expected to operate according to normal schedule from 13-Mar-2011, with four direct services, one flight via Taipei to Narita and two flights to Haneda on 13-Mar-2011. Services were suspended on 11-Mar-2011.
  • Cebu Pacific: Stated it is maintaining most services to Japan as per its regular schedule;
  • China Eastern: Operated 44 services to/from Japan on 13-Mar-2011;
  • China Southern Airlines: Cancelled four flights between Tokyo and China on 12-Mar-2011 and halted services on 13-Mar-2011. China Southern flights to other Japanese cities, including Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, and Niigata, all maintained normal schedules on 13-Mar-2011.
  • Delta Air Lines: 29 flights were cancelled on 11-Mar-2011 to/from Tokyo. Delta operates nearly 60 daily services to/from Tokyo Narita and Haneda. The carrier is waiving change fees for customers whose flight plans have been affected. The carrier is rescheduling affected passengers. There are no reports of injuries to customers or employees at any Delta facility in Japan;
  • Emirates: Stated services between UAE and Tokyo have resumed and are departing as scheduled. Immediately following the earthquake air traffic between UAE and Tokyo was disrupted, with one service being diverted to Kansai, but resumed soon after;
  • Etihad: Stated services to Tokyo have resumed and are departing as scheduled. Immediately following the earthquake the air traffic between UAE and Tokyo was disrupted but resumed soon after;
  • FedEx Express: Resumed services to Tokyo Narita from 12-Mar-2011. The carrier however stated it expects ground service delays in eastern Japan. The company also stated that the vast majority of its team members have been accounted for;
  • Finnair: Resumed services to Japan on 12-Mar-2011. The Finnish Foreign Ministry has called on nationals to avoid unnecessary travel to Japan;
  • Garuda Indonesia: Stated no services from Indonesia to Japan have been affected;
  • Jetstar: Diverted two Tokyo-bound flights to Guam. All but nine of the more than 300 affected passengers have since been transported to Japan;
  • Korean Air Lines: Suspended services to Japan on 11-Mar-2011;
  • Lufthansa: Stated flight operations at Lufthansa and Lufthansa Cargo were stabilising from 13-Mar-2011.
  • Malaysian Airlines: Diverted one Tokyo-bound flight to Taipei on 11-Mar-2011 while services to Osaka operated as usual
  • MASkargo: Put an embargo on all shipments to Tokyo Narita on 11-Mar-2011;
  • Pakistan International Airlines: A service, which was about to depart Tokyo Narita when the earthquake struck, was delayed. The flight was later operated following the inspection of the runway at the airport;
  • Philippine Airlines: Stated most services to/from Japan were operational on 12-Mar-2011 and 13-Mar-2011. Services were cancelled on 11-Mar-2011;
  • Singapore Airlines: Two services en-route to Tokyo were diverted to Fukuoka and Haneda on 11-Mar-2011;
  • Thai Airways: The carrier, which operates to five destinations in Japan, cancelled services on 11-Mar-2011. The carrier stated the earthquake will affect revenues in 2011 as it operates several services to Japan;
  • Turkish Airlines: The carrier closed its Tokyo sales office. The carrier stated its Istanbul-Tokyo Narita services operated as scheduled on 11-Mar-2011 and 12-Mar-2011;
  • Qantas: Has resumed service to Japan. Services delayed on 11-Mar-2011 have since been operated;
  • United Continental Holdings: United cancelled 10 services and Continental cancelled one service on 11-Mar-2011. The carriers added that conditions at local airports are expected to lead to the delay or cancellation of certain flights to/from Japan, including at the carriers' hub at Narita. Other cities throughout Japan may also be affected. The carriers stated passengers are able to reschedule their itinerary without charge. Meanwhile, services from Guam to Sendai are cancelled indefinitely. The airline is trying to send Guam-Sendai passengers to other airports in Japan. The carrier has around 1000 employees at nine airports and offices in downtown Tokyo;
  • US State Department: Has advised against travel to Japan;
  • Virgin Atlantic: Cancelled its Tokyo service on 11-Mar-2011 only.

Want more analysis like this? CAPA Membership gives you access to all news and analysis on the site, along with access to many areas of our comprehensive databases and toolsets.
Find out more and take a free trial.