Following political tensions, JAL and ANA have cancelled 30,000 seats to China, as 5,250 Chinese tourists and 4,600 Japanese have also cancelled trips to each country.
This follows the growing tensions between Japan and China over the disputed ‘sovereign’ ownership of the East China Sea Senkaku Islands which The Business commented upon three days ago.
Japan Airlines has cancelled a huge number of flights corresponding to 12,000 lost seats for specified periods, while All Nippon Airways (ANA) has also cancelled 18,800 seat reservations.
Route sectors affected include JAL’s daily flights between Tokyo and Beijing and Tokyo and Shanghai, plus its Osaka to Shanghai service. By contrast, ANA operates 21 air routes linking four airports in Japan, including Tokyo Haneda and Tokyo Narita and 10 Chinese cities.
The cancellations follow violent protests against Japanese businesses in China over the last few weeks resulting in the temporary closure of several. This has emanated from a dispute that has sporadically flared up many times since an ownership question was actually first raised as far back as 1895. [The islands are known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan and the Diaoyu Islands in China-Ed].
Many more Japanese are expected to cancel their plans to visit China in the immediate future, as the dispute between the two countries has been allowed to get ridiculously out of hand.
Many Japanese businesses that have faced protests in China have claimed that the Chinese authorities have done little or nothing to police the demonstrations where damage to property and threats are said to have been made.
COMMENT: Seasoned analysts are suggesting that China is making a point, while, JAL and ANA both toe the government line in an orderly fashion with this formal response.
Hopefully this spat will not escalate – or last long – at a somewhat fragile time when Chinese tourism to Japan is recovering well and Japanese visitors continue to be very good customers for Mainland Chinese DF&TR retailers-Ed.