Air China, Taiwan's EVA cut back Japan flights

Air China said Tuesday it is cutting back flights to Japan over safety worries after a vast earthquake and tsunami, while Taiwan's EVA Airways cancelled some flights to Tokyo and Sapporo.

Malaysia's main airport began screening passengers returning from Japan for radioactive contamination as the quake-hit nation fought a nuclear crisis at a power plant, and South Korea said it was considering a similar measure.

But Air China said its worries were over aftershocks rather than radiation, while other Asian airlines said they would keep flying to Japan as normal apart from tsunami-hit Sendai.

Several countries in the region sought to dampen public fears over the nuclear emergency, saying they did not think they needed to screen those leaving Japan for radiation, although the situation worsened Tuesday with two more blasts at the stricken atomic plant.

Radiation around the Fukushima No. 1 plant reached levels dangerous to human health, the prime minister's chief spokesman said. Higher than normal radioactivity was also detected in Tokyo but it was not thought to be harmful.

The Chinese flag carrier cancelled half of its six daily Beijing-Tokyo flights for Tuesday and Wednesday, and one of its three Shanghai-Tokyo flights for each of the two days.

"We have cancelled some of the flights from China for safety reasons. But most flights remain normal," Air China spokeswoman Zhu Mei told AFP.

"The cancelled fights were those scheduled to stay one night at Japan airports. The planes could face danger in the event of aftershocks."

The airline's flights to Sendai were on hold after the airport there was flattened by the tsunami that swept the country's northeast after Friday's 9.0-magnitude quake.

But Zhu said so far she knew of no new disruptions over radiation fears.

"We have not received a notice (on the radiation issue)," she said. Air China was not screening any incoming passengers for radiation.

Taiwan's EVA Airways cancelled 14 flights scheduled to leave for Tokyo before the end of March and another five to Sapporo, as well as calling off all flights to Sendai until June 30, a spokesman for the firm said.

He blamed cancellations by tourists after the devastating twin natural disasters. The island has not so far carried out radioactivity screening.

But the company that runs Malaysia's airports said it was checking passengers for radiation as they emerged off direct flights from Japan.

"The screening started on Monday morning, involving three airlines which fly directly to Tokyo - Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia X," a spokeswoman for Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad told AFP.

Officials from national carrier Malaysia Airlines and long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X said their flights were operating on schedule, however.

South Korean flights to Japan were operating as normal - except to Sendai - a spokesman for Incheon airport said, while Australian airlines Qantas and Jetstar said their flights were going ahead.

Indonesian and Hong Kong authorities and Singapore Airlines said their flight schedules would proceed, with Hong Kong saying passengers from Japan concerned about radiation exposure could visit a public hospital for a test.

Countries including Australia and Thailand have already urged their nationals not to go near the stricken plant and to reconsider travel to other areas affected by Friday's 9.0-magnitude quake and the subsequent tsunami.

Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukiya Amano said Tuesday it was "very unlikely" Japan's problems could grow to resemble the nuclear crisis at Chernobyl in Ukraine, which caused widespread contamination in 1986.

burs-je/slb

 

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Casual Visitor Experience Assistants

    £7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To work within the Visitor Experience Departm...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

    Tribal gathering

    Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
    Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

    Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

    Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
    10 best trays

    Get carried away with 10 best trays

    Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
    Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
    How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

    Heavy weather

    What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
    World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

    World Bodypainting Festival 2015

    Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
    alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

    Don't call us nerds

    Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
    How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

    How to find gold

    Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
    Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

    Not born in the USA

    Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
    10 best balsamic vinegars

    10 best balsamic vinegars

    Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
    Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
    Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

    Greece referendum

    Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
    Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

    7/7 bombings anniversary

    Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?