Government orders Japan Airlines to submit new safety report
TOKYO – Japan’s government has ordered Japan Airlines to submit a new report by the end of the month detailing measures it will take to halt a series of glitches that have raised safety concerns, an official said Monday.The Transport Ministry issued its instruction following two recent incidents involving JAL, a ministry spokesman said on condition of anonymity, citing ministry policy.A JAL spokesman said the company is preparing its response to the ministry’s instruction.”We regret causing any public concern,” said JAL spokesman Steve Pearlman. “We have been taking corrective measures to improve safety procedures.”An aircraft operated by a JAL-affiliate on a Tokyo-to-Taipei flight on Dec. 26 took off with a latch on the emergency exit incorrectly positioned during takeoff. A crew member noticed and corrected the error, Pearlman said.In the second incident on Jan. 7, a JAL aircraft on a domestic flight was discovered to have flown with the reverse thruster on one engine locked into the maintenance position, Pearlman said. The aircraft landed safely.The two recent incidents are the latest in a series of operational and maintenance gaffes on aircraft operated by JAL group-companies since early 2005.The company submitted a plan last April for reducing such instances of human error. However, the latest incidents indicated further efforts were needed, the ministry’s spokesman said.Also Monday, JAL said it will raise fuel surcharges for its international flights starting March 1 due to the high price of jet fuel.The surcharge per person, added to normal airline fares, will be increased to 8,000 yen ($70.18) for one-way flights across the Pacific and to Europe from the current 5,000 yen ($43.86), the company said. In the U.S., the airline flies to Chicago, Hawaii, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.It said the surcharge for flights to China will be raised to 2,700 yen ($23.68) from 1,300 yen ($11.40), and will rise to 11,500 yen ($100.88) for a one-way flight to Brazil, JAL said in a statement.JAL, Japan’s top carrier, said it will reduce the surcharges if the price of jet fuel traded in the Singapore oil market stays below $65 a barrel for more than 30 days. Prices for jet fuels have recently ranged around $75 per barrel.