UK airlines ground flights to Tokyo

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UK airlines cancelled flights to Tokyo yesterday following the devastating Japanese earthquake.

A British Airways plane heading for Tokyo’s Hareda airport had pushed back off the stand at Heathrow yesterday when the airline decided it would not be leaving.

BA also cancelled its daily Heathrow service to Tokyo’s Narita airport.

But London-bound BA flights from Hareda and Narita were due to land safely back in the UK last night having left before the earthquake struck.

Virgin Atlantic, which operates daily services to Narita from Heathrow, also cancelled its Tokyo flight yesterday.

A Virgin spokeswoman said: “Narita is about one hour from central Tokyo and we’ve cancelled our flight VS900 and the return flight VS901 today.” She said a flight from Tokyo that left before the earthquake was due back last night.

A BA spokesman said: “We decided that we would not operate the Haneda-bound flight (BA007) as a precaution and have also cancelled our flight to Narita.”

There were fears that the tsunami could reach as far as Australia, Mexico and Hawaii. Both BA and Virgin said they were closely monitoring the situation.

Long-haul holiday company Kuoni said all its UK tourists in Hawaii were safe and well. A Kuoni spokeswoman went on: “Our people in Hawaii are in Honolulu and they will be moved to higher ground should there be any tsunami danger. We have holidaymakers in a number of Pacific areas including Malaysia and Hong Kong and also in Australia. We are aware of the tsunami warnings and are prepared.”