Airlines Dropping Tokyo: Radiation Risk

Alitalia joined Lufthansa in keeping flights away from Tokyo as nuclear workers in Japan flight a meltdown at reactors damaged by the earthquake and tsunami.

Alitalia will divert its 14 weekly Tokyo trips from Rome and Milan to Osaka. Alitalia’s switch to Osaka was “to guarantee maximum regularity of flights,” Alitalia said today that passengers scheduled to fly to Tokyo will receive as much as 130 euros ($182) in compensation.

Lufthansa said it’s sticking to the suspension of its Frankfurt-Tokyo and Munich- Tokyo route and sending aircraft to Osaka and Nagoya. These flights will stop at ICN were the crews will be spending the night in Seoul.

Many European airlines are making stops on the way to Japan so crews do not have to overnight there. Now that more airlines are not flying to NRT (Tokyo) more and more people who want to get out are having a hard time.

A source at Lufthansa tells me that the Lufthansa A380 will not be back on this route for some time to come.

Here is some details from other airlines around the world:

  • Other Lufthansa group airlines are adding a stop for a crew swap.
  • Cathay Pacific added two flights from Tokyo to Hong Kong, and said its crews will stop overnighting in the Japanese capital.
  • Air France is still doing the Paris-Tokyo flights while having crews spend the night in Seoul. KLM will also make a stop.
  • Finnair is deadheading a crew to do the return flights.
  • Qantas added Hong Kong stopovers so that it can swap crews there.
  • British Airways still has direct Tokyo services and crews are sleeping in the city.

As of this posting most US airlines are operating somewhat normal schedules, I think it is only a matter of time before we start seeing some changes with them also.