Sunday, February 9, 2014

Heavy snowfall in Greater Tokyo disrupts flights nationwide.

The Kanto (Greater Tokyo) region's heaviest snowfall in 45 years disrupted operations at the nation's busiest airport in Haneda (HND/RJTT) on February 8th, and it continued on to the following day today as airlines struggled to reposition their aircraft and crews. It had a ripple effect to essentially all airports in Japan, as most main-line aircraft are based at Haneda.

Yesterday, Japan Airlines (JL/JAL) and its group carriers together canceled 304 domestic and three international flights, affecting approximately 52,000 and 470 passengers, respectively, while All Nippon Airways' (NH/ANA) group canceled 274 domestic and two international flights, affecting 46,300 and 300 passengers, respectively. Several other flights suffered lengthy delays or were diverted to other airports. Today on February 9th, JAL canceled 206 domestic and 37 international flights, affecting 41,009 passengers, while ANA canceled 101 domestic flights, affecting about 15,000 people. Skymark Airlines (BC/SKY) canceled 50 flights yesterday and another 30 today. Star Flyer (7G/SFJ) and AIRDO (HD/ADO) (d.b.a. Air Do) among others all reported cancellations and warned travelers of potential delays. Jetstar Japan (GK/JJP) canceled 34 flights on February 9th, affecting 5899 people.

Tokyo saw 27 centimeters of snow, a record in 45 years, while neighboring Chiba reported 33 centimeters, an all-time record. Ishinomaki, near Sendai in the northeast, recorded 38 centimeters, its heaviest in 91 years. Unlike the snowy prefectures of Aomori, Hokkaido, or northwestern Japan, Kanto along with east Japan are not used to life with snow; infrastructure is vulnerable against snow and stand-by snow-plowing equipment are minimal.

Source: Aviation Wire, February 10th. (in Japanese)
Source: Aviation Wire, February 9th. (in Japanese) 

*Post edited/updated on February 10th.

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