Japan woes add to flying times for some international travellers

At least 3 key airlines add a stop in Seoul for flights in and out of Japan.

Tokyo: At least three major airlines have added a stop in Seoul for flights in and out of Japan due to staffing and supply concerns brought about by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear troubles that have hit the country.

British Airways, Air France-KLM and Lufthansa have moved crews to Seoul and are using catering services out of South Korea`s Incheon Airport, adding a stop in the country for flights through Japan, a Seoul Regional Aviation Administration official said.

Japan has been hit by fuel, food and power shortages after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which have snarled logistics in the world`s third-largest economy.

The stopover in Seoul adds at least two hours to long-haul international flights.

Other carriers serving the Asia-Pacific region, including Qantas, have added stopovers in Hong Kong, according to industry data.

Passenger traffic to Japan has decreased since the earthquake, with several international companies placing travel restrictions on employees going to Japan due to concerns of radiation leaking from a damaged reactor.

Australia`s Qantas Airways said on Wednesday it plans to scale back some flights and cut management jobs to help offset soaring fuel prices and an estimated USD 144 million hit to its earnings from a string of natural disasters in key markets.

Bureau Report