* China Eastern delays new flight launch
* JAL to reduce flights to China
* ANA says monitoring situation
Sept 21 Airlines from China and Japan have cut
or delayed flights between the two countries as tensions mount
between the region's two largest economies over a dispute
centred on an uninhabited group of islands in the East China
China Eastern Airlines , one of China's
top three carriers, said it would delay the launch of a new
route between Shanghai and Sendai, which was scheduled to start
on October 18, due to insufficient passenger demand.
A China Eastern spokesman declined to say if the delay was
related to the growing tension between the two sides, but he
warned the situation could deteriorate.
"Other flights (to Japan) are now operating as normal, but
we expect those flights will be affected too," a China Eastern
spokesman said in an email to Reuters.
Japan Airlines Co Ltd (JAL) said it would reduce
daily flights to China, excluding Hong Kong, by three to 10
until October 27, while the Nikkei business daily said JAL had
about 12,000 cancellations to China on flights between September
and November, including 5,500 seats cancelled flying out of
Japan and 6,500 seats cancelled from China.
"JAL doesn't see a very large impact on earnings from this,"
JAL spokesman Seiji Takamoto said. "China-Japan flights make up
little more than 10 pct of international flight sales, and the
impact on overall profits is small."
New reservation volume had dropped and JAL would gauge
demand in October and decide whether to extend the flight cuts
beyond October 27, Takamoto added.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) said it was monitoring the
"We are doing all we can to avoid cutting flights, but an
announcement could come at any time, given the level of
cancellations," an ANA spokesman said.
The Hong Kong-listed Shares of China Eastern fell 1.6
percent on Friday, lagging a 0.7 percent gain in the broader
The Hong Kong-listed shares of Air China
rose 3.6 percent, while China Southern
Airlines Co Ltd was flat.
JAL shares fell 4.3 percent and ANA was flat, compared with
a 0.3 percent gain in the Nikkei 225 Index.
Street protests in China have forced some Japanese firms to
suspend operations in that country, and the share prices of
Japanese firms with exposure to China have tumbled.
Japan has controlled the disputed rocky islets since 1895 -
except during the 1945-1972 U.S. post-war occupation of Okinawa
- and calls them the Senkakus. China maintains it has an older
claim and calls them the Diaoyu islands.
(Reporting Donny Kwok in HONG KONG and Negishi Mayumi in TOKYO;
Editing by Anne Marie Roantree)