TOKYO, June 3 Skymark Airlines 9204.T, a
discount domestic carrier, will cancel 168 flights in June due to
a shortage of pilots, sending its shares to their lowest level
The shortage comes after two pilots retired at the end of
May, and the cancellations account for about 10 percent of all
its scheduled flights this month, affecting four routes and about
9,000 passengers, Skymark said.
"With the absence of two pilots, we could expect some
unexpected flight cancellations, and we decided it would be
better to cancel them ahead of time to limit further problems for
our customers," said Skymark spokesman Shuichi Aoyama.
He said it was still unclear whether its flight schedule
would go back to normal in July.
Skymark said it was in the process of switching all of its
fleet from Boeing 767 aircraft to smaller and more fuel-efficient
Boeing 737 aircraft by 2010, but the two pilots who retired had
licenses for the 737.
"The battle to secure pilots is accelerating in Asia as the
number of discount airlines increases due to emerging economies
such as China and Southeast Asian countries," Aoyama said.
Shares of Skymark ended the morning session down 8.5 percent
at 195 yen, compared with a 1.5 percent fall in the benchmark
Nikkei average .N225.
(Reporting by Aiko Hayashi; Editing by Hugh Lawson)