Airlines face “major slowdown” due to Japan -IATA

Monday, 21 March 2011 00:03 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  •  Major slowdown seen in Japan airline markets
  • No improvement seen until second half 2011
  • China most exposed to Japan air market, globally

GENEVA/CHICAGO (Reuters) - The nuclear and earthquake crises in Japan will cause a “major slowdown” for airlines in Japanese markets, and a rebound is unlikely before the second half of 2011, a leading airline industry trade group said on Friday.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in a statement that with the $62.5 billion Japan market representing 6.5 percent of scheduled worldwide traffic and 10 percent of industry revenues, tough times are in store for airlines with the most exposure to Japan.

“A major slowdown in Japan is expected in the short-term. And the fortunes of the industry will likely not improve until the effect of a reconstruction rebound is felt in the second half of the year,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and chief executive, in a statement.

World airlines have reported lighter traffic into Japan -- and heavier traffic out -- since last week’s earthquake and tsunami. Fears of nuclear radiation from damage at the Fukushima nuclear power plant later fed health concerns.

For now, however, Japan’s All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines said there had been no schedule changes in their flights from Tokyo to overseas destinations.

Delta Air Lines is completing more than 90 percent of scheduled flights, Chief Executive Richard Anderson said in a recorded staff message.

Delta runs more flights in Japan than any other U.S. carrier, and plans to temporarily halt daily flights from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to Detroit and Los Angeles beginning next week.

IATA said the most exposed international market to Japanese operations was China, where Japan accounts for 23 percent of its international revenues.

Taiwan and South Korea were almost equally exposed with 20 percent of their revenues related to Japanese operations, followed by Thailand (15 percent), the United States (12 percent), Hong Kong (11 percent) and Singapore (9 percent).

IATA says no restrictions on air travel to Japan

 The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Saturday it welcomed the joint statement issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on behalf of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), International Maritime Organization (IMO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), on the continued safety of air transport operations in Japan.

These five organizations confirmed that there are no restrictions to normal air transport operations at Japan’s major airports, including both Haneda and Narita.

 “Safety is our number one priority. If it is not safe, we won’t fly. Today’s joint statement by the five most authoritative United Nations (UN) organizations on air transport, nuclear energy, shipping, health and weather confirms that it is safe to operate in Japan,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

The ICAO statement further confirmed that there are no health reasons that would require the screening of passengers emanating from Japan. Moreover the Organizations confirmed that there is no health risk associated with increased levels of radiation that have been detected at some airports. Although not recommended by the UN organizations, several states are implementing screening programs for passengers and flights from Japan. As these measures are not being coordinated among governments, IATA is tracking developments at