Japan Airlines Corp. is calling on its employees to take unpaid leave in May and June due to a plunge in demand for air travel following the March tsunami and ensuing nuclear radiation crisis.
The airline, known as JAL, said Thursday it expects around 100 workers will apply for a voluntary leave of absence in each month. The scheme is open to all its 12,000 workers.
JAL said foreign travel demand plunged after the March 11 disasters damaged a coastal nuclear power plant, which has been leaking radiation into the air, vegetables, tap water and now the Pacific Ocean.
The number of passengers for JAL's international flights from March 12 to March 31 was 25 percent lower than what the airline had forecast. For JAL's domestic flights, passengers were down 28 percent from its forecast.
To cope with falling demand, JAL will cut 74 international flights, mostly Asian routes, in April. The 74 flights account for around five percent of JAL's total international flights in the month.
The move will affect popular routes including flights from Tokyo to Honolulu and Tokyo to Seoul.