Significant disruption to air travel

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

HONOLULU and TOKYO (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds of flights have been canceled in Japan and tens of thousands of passengers are stranded following the earthquake and tsunami.

Numerous flights to Honolulu International Airport were canceled or delayed, though the airport remained open.

Narita airport, which handles most of Tokyo's international flights, closed Friday for inspection for earthquake damage. Some 14,000 passengers were stranded as a result. United Airlines diverted seven flights bound there from the U.S. mainland; Continental Airlines diverted flights from its Micronesia hub on Guam.

Haneda airport, the domestic hub for Tokyo, also closed, reopening late Friday. But All-Nippon Airways reported 131 flight cancellations and Japan Airlines confirms canceling dozens of its own flights.

JAL, ANA and Hawaiian Airlines have all in recent months launched daily service from Haneda to Honolulu. The Hawaiian flight, a redeye, was not scheduled to take off until several hours after the scheduled tsunami arrival in Hawaii; the flight would reach Honolulu International Airport on Saturday morning.

Cultural disruption could also be possible. In Japan it is considered bad form to take a vacation when your family or your employer needs you. Hawaii tourism officials were expected to watch closely for any sign of travel cancellations from Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.

Hawaii typically gets 4,000 arrivals a day on flights from Japan.

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