Sendai Airport, in Japan’s Miyagi prefecture, was swamped by a massive tsunami triggered by a 9.0-magnitude undersea earthquake that killed thousands in the country. Television pictures from Japan’s NHK network showed the airport to be completely flooded. No aircraft were visible near the terminal building. The airport handles about 40 flights a day, although no commercial aircraft were on the ground at the time of the disaster. When the water subsided, upturned vehicles, trees and other debris were scattered around the airport apron and parking lot.
4th Apr 2011
Sendai Airport, in Japan’s Miyagi prefecture, was swamped by a massive tsunami triggered by a 9.0-magnitude undersea earthquake that killed thousands in the country.
Television pictures from Japan’s NHK network showed the airport to be completely flooded. No aircraft were visible near the terminal building. The airport handles about 40 flights a day, although no commercial aircraft were on the ground at the time of the disaster.
When the water subsided, upturned vehicles, trees and other debris were scattered around the airport apron and parking lot.
Maintenance, repair and overhaul firm Jamco operates two hangars and a fixed-base operation at the airport, but says none of its employees were injured and its facilities remain intact.
Damage has been reported to an unspecified number of light aircraft and helicopters at the airport.
Fears that the earthquake could affect parts deliveries for the Boeing 787 programme from suppliers Mitsubishi, Kawasaki and Fuji Heavy Industries have so far proved unfounded, with Boeing saying there has been “no major disruption”.
With concern remaining about radiation from the damaged nuclear power plant at Fukushima, Austrian Airlines and Lufthansa carried out radiation testing to ensure whether it was safe to continue operations. Neither carrier found any evidence of unsafe levels of radioactivity.
On 19 March, a joint statement was issued by the International Civil Aviation Organisation on behalf of the International Atomic Energy Agency, International Maritime Organisation, the World Health Organisation and the World Meteorological Organisation, confirming the safety of air transport operations to Japan and that there are no restrictions to operations at the country’s major airports.
The statement was welcomed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
“Safety is our number one priority. If it is not safe, we won’t fly,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive. “Today’s joint statement by the five most authoritative United Nations organizations on air transport, nuclear energy, shipping, health and weather confirms that it is safe to operate in Japan.”
The IATA chief added: “Effective air links are critically important at this time. Our members are rising to the challenge of bringing relief supplies, equipment and people to Japan as well as connecting families affected by this tragedy.”
[Byline:] – Andrzej Jeziorski
AIRASIA’S GROUP profit for the year ended 31 December 2010 more than doubled to 1.06 billion ringgit (US$350 million), from 506.3 million ringgit the previous year. Revenue jumped 26 percent to 3.99 billion ringgit. The group, which comprises Kuala Lumpur-based low-cost carrier AirAsia, Bangkok-based Thai AirAsia and Jakarta-based Indonesia AirAsia, carried a total of 25.7 million passengers, an increase of 13.1 per cent. Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes said the results were helped by growth in air travel demand, matched by an increased contribution from ancillary revenue. AirAsia has hedged up to 21 percent of its fuel requirement for the first six months of this year at US$92.31 a barrel. South-East Asia’s biggest low-cost carrier by fleet size took delivery of three Airbus A320 aircraft in March, one of which will go to its Thai affiliate while the other two go to Indonesia. Initial public offerings (IPOs) for the Thai and Indonesian carriers will be initiated by the fourth quarter, subject to market condition. The company expects to raise US$150 million to US$200 million for each offering, which will be used to finance expansion.
THAI AIRWAYS International posted annual profit of 15.35 billion baht (US$1.46 billion) for the 2010, more than double the previous year’s profit of 7.34 billion baht. Revenue rose 12.4 percent to 184.27 billion baht. However, Thai Airways President Piyasvasti Amranand warns that spiking oil prices may have a significant effect on the airline and the industry this year. Even so, the airline will add capacity on several routes starting 2 April. Two weekly flights will be added on routes to Brisbane and Auckland, increasing the service frequencies to daily, using Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. Milan is being increased from thrice to four-times weekly, and Mumbai from four- to five-times weekly. Thai will also convert two out of four 747-400s, scheduled for retirement this year, into freighters. The conversions will be carried out either by Boeing or Israel Aerospace Industries and the aircraft are to be operational in the second quarter of 2012.