JAL shares below offer price as island row bites

Shares in Japan Airlines slumped 4.29 percent Friday, two days after relisting, as it said it would slash flights to China amid a territorial row between Tokyo and Beijing.

The firm finished the day at 3,680 yen, below the 3,790 yen it opened at on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Wednesday as it returned to the bourse less than three years after becoming one of Japan's biggest ever corporate failures.

The close was off an intra-day low of 3,630 yen, reached moments before the final bell.

The fall came as JAL, which has undergone a transformation since entering bankruptcy in early 2010, said it would cut the number of flights to China next month to reflect a fall in demand from tourists in both countries.

Tokyo and Beijing have become embroiled in a tussle over a group of East China Sea islands that has led to widespread anti-Japan protests across China and several big-name Japanese firms suspending manufacturing or shutting shops.

For an initial 18 days from October 10, the current two daily flights between Tokyo and Beijing will be cut to one, while the three Tokyo-Shanghai flights a day will drop to two.

Two daily flights between western Japan's Osaka and Shanghai will also drop to one in the same period.

The company said it was yet to decide what would happen after October 28.

JAL said 12,000 seats -- 6,000 round trips -- had been cancelled for the three months to November.

Rival carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA) said Tuesday 18,800 seat reservations had been cancelled on its routes between Japan and China for the three months to November.

ANA ended flat at 176 yen.

Chinese carriers said they had also curbed the number of flights linking Chinese and Japanese cities due to insufficient demand.

China Southern Airlines in an emailed statement said it "has moderately scaled back some flights to Japan recently".

Services affected include flights linking Guangzhou with Osaka and Fukuoka; Beijing and Dalian with Toyama and Dalian; and Tianjin with Hiroshima.

"China Southern will scale back some flights mentioned above in September and October", the statement added, without giving numbers.

Shanghai-based budget carrier Spring Airlines cancelled 10 flights between the city and Japan's Tottori from September 23 to October 25, a spokesman said, with Shanghai media attributing the move to lack of demand as Chinese tour groups cancelled planned trips to Japan.

China Eastern Airlines said the launch of a new route linking Shanghai and Sendai that had been set to begin on October 18 will be delayed due to low demand, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

Separately, China's National Tourism Administration said it had cancelled a plan to attend an international travel fair in Japan. Its delegation had been due to leave Friday, it said, without giving further details.

It also advised Chinese tourists in Japan to take care of their safety and property.

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