Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 43 • 44 (pp.100–102)

August – January 2006

1 AugustHong Kong's 3.5-km Disneyland Resort Line started operations prior to opening of Hong Kong Disneyland on 12 September
2 AugustAir France Airbus A340 skidded off runway on landing at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Canada and burst into flames but nobody killed
4 AugustJapan's Minister for Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) issued directive to extend second runway at New Tokyo International Airport (Narita) by additional 320 m to north to create 2.5-km runway for larger aircraft
Kinki Nippon Railway announced plan to open 8.6-km Keihanna Line (Ikoma–Gakken Nara Tomigaoka) on 27 March 2006, permitting rail passengers to travel to central Osaka in less than 40 minutes via Kintetsu Higashi Osaka Line (between Ikoma and Nagata) and Chuo subway line operated by Osaka Municipal Transportation Bureau
6 AugustTwin turboprop passenger plane operated by Tunisian airline Tuninter crashed into sea off coast of Sicily, killing 14 passengers
10 AugustAll 14 people on-board passenger helicopter operated by Finnish company killed when crashed into Baltic Sea off coast of Estonia
14 AugustBoeing 737 operated by Helios Airways and carrying 115 passengers and six crew crashed into mountainous region north of Athens, killing everyone onboard
16 AugustMD-82 airplane operated by West Caribbean Airways of Panama crashed in Sierra de Perija mountains of north-western Venezuela, killing all 152 passengers and eight crew
23 AugustBoeing 737-200 on domestic flight crashed near Pucalpa Airport in central Peru, killing at least 41 people on board
24 August58.3-km Tsukuba Express Line operated by Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company opened between Tsukuba and Akihabara in Tokyo
Railway track laid at highest elevation in world (5072 m) at Amdo in Tibet Autonomous Region
29 AugustCategory-4 hurricane Katrina caused tremendous damage in Louisiana and southern USA, leaving parts of New Orleans badly flooded with up to 2000 people believed dead
French government blacklisted five airlines from flying through French airspace and landing because of alleged poor safety records
5 SeptemberMandala Airlines passenger plane (Boeing 737-200) on domestic flight crashed into residential area in Medan, North Sumatra, killing 47 people on ground and about 100 people on board
Several Taiwanese airlines started flights over Chinese airspace, shortening routes to Europe and other regions
Helicopter carrying construction materials near Innsbruck, Austria, dropped concrete slap onto ski gondola, killing 9 and injuring seven people
8 SeptemberTaiwan High Speed Rail Corporation, operating 345-km Taiwan High Speed Rail between Taipei and Kaohsiung, announced 1-year postponement of opening until October 2006 due to delays in completing mechanical and electrical systems
Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) announced construction of new 116-m control tower in conjunction with construction of fourth runway (runway D) at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda), and world's second tallest after tower at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (133 m)
12 SeptemberLos Angeles hit by widespread blackout affecting some 2 million people
13 SeptemberLouis Armstrong International New Orleans Airport in Louisiana resumed scheduled civilian flights after closure due to large-scale flooding following Hurricane Katrin
14 SeptemberDelta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in New York, citing rising fuel costs
17 SeptemberDouble-decker five-car commuter train derailed in Chicago, killing two and injuring more than 80 people
29 SeptemberSeaplane carrying five Japanese tourists crashed on takeoff from lake in Quebec Province, killing one and injuring four people
30 SeptemberFollowing halt of flights between Narita and New York by Northwest Airlines on 7 September, American Airlines announced cessation of flights between Central Japan International Airport (CENTRAIR) and Chicago from November due to rising fuel costs
5 OctoberInternational Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies published World Disasters Report 2005, noting 719 natural disasters and serious accidents with fatalities totalling 249,869 due mostly to Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004
Japan Airlines Corporation (JAL) announced plan to integrate with Japan Airlines International Co., Ltd., and Japan Airlines Domestic Co., Ltd. on 1 October 2006 with JAL as holding company
6 OctoberAirbus announced development of medium-size long-range A350 planned to enter commercial service in 2010 in competition against Boeing 787
11 OctoberTaipei City Government presented plan to introduce Linimo (HSST) seen at Aichi Expo 2005 on city's Hsin Peito branch line (1.1 km) in summer 2007
14 OctoberSightseeing bus collided with three trams in Hiroshima City, derailing one and slightly injuring 12 bus passengers
15 OctoberTrack for 1142-km line connecting Lhasa in Tibet Autonomous Region and Golmud in Chinghai Province, China, completed at average elevation of 4500 m and highest point of 5072 m—freight services due to start in 2006 and passenger services in 2007
22 OctoberBellview Airlines Boeing 737 crashed in Lagos, Nigeria, killing 111 passengers and six crew on board
29 OctoberPassenger train derailed from flooded line in Andhra Pradesh in southern India with some carriages rolling into river, killing 111 people
1 NovemberToda Kuroshio Railway's 23.6-km Sukumo Line (Nakamura–Sukumo) reopened after 8-month shutdown, following accident in which express rammed Sukumo Station building
Passengers angered by late trains in Buenos Aires, Argentina, rioted for 5 hours, throwing rocks at station building, and completely destroying 15 trains by setting fires
6 NovemberIraqi Airways flight landed in Tehran, marking resumption of flights between Iran and Iraq after 25-year hiatus following Iran–Iraq War (1980–88)
Trial runs conducted on southern 58 km of 345-km Taiwan High Speed Rail (Taipei–Kaohsiung), successfully reaching maximum operating speed of 300 km/h
10 NovemberNew Boeing B777-200LR passenger jetliner set new record by flying 21,601 km non-stop east from Hong Kong to London in 22 hours 42 minutes
Siemens won order to provide 60 high-speed train sets (480 cars) to China, with operations between Beijing and Tianjin scheduled to start in 2008
14 NovemberLondon's famous Routemaster double-decker buses started operating special ‘Heritage’ routes in city before December retirement due to advanced age, lack of barrier-free access, and other issues
15 NovemberBoeing announced planned development of new Jumbo dubbed 747-8 with pre-orders for 18 planes from Nippon Cargo Airlines and others
Third-sector Kamioka Railway operating 19.9-km Inotani–Oku-Hida Onsenguchi section taken over from now-privatized Japan National Railway, notified MLIT of plan to stop railway operations from 1 December 2006 due to declining passenger levels and move of sulphuric acid tanker transport to truck transport
16 NovemberEU Parliament adopted bill creating and publishing blacklist of dangerous airlines that fail to meet international safety standards
20 NovemberChina Aviation Supplies Import and Export Group Corporation signed agreement to purchase seventy B-373s from Boeing with possible future option for 80 more
5 DecemberChinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced plan to purchase 150 units of A320 Airbus for domestic carriers in deal worth $10 billion
8 DecemberBoeing 737 of Southwest Airlines failed on take off from Midway Airport in Chicago, overrunning runway and crashing through fence to hit two passenger cars on highway, killing 6-year-old boy and injuring eight people seriously
10 DecemberDomestic airliner of Sosoliso Airlines crashed at Port Harcourt Airport in Nigeria, killing 104 passengers and injuring five others
18 DecemberStreetcars in New Orleans, Louisiana resumed operation about 4 months after Hurricane Katrina
19 DecemberSmall Grumman G73T seaplane crashed off coast of Miami, Florida after takeoff, killing all 20 passengers and crew
20 DecemberTaisetsumaru Aomori–Hakodate ferry retired in 1996 to become Hotel Ship Victoria at Nagasaki Port went out of business due to silting on seabed under ship reducing water depth and significantly increasing pitching and rolling
21 DecemberPrivate railway companies (22 Passnet members) and bus companies (26 bus card members) in Tokyo metropolitan area announced plan to issue common passenger card PASMO compatible with JR East's card starting March 2007
All 233 passengers and crew on burning ferry rescued by coastguard vessels and other craft off southern island of Mindanao in Philippines
23 DecemberAntonov 140 of Azerbaijan Airlines crashed in Baku, Azerbaijan, killing all 23 passengers and crew
25 DecemberSix-car limited express derailed and overturned, killing five passengers and injuring 32 others on JR East Uetsu main line at Shonai Town, Yamagata Prefecture
27 DecemberFollowing derailment on JR West Fukuchiyama Line that killed 107 passengers, JR West announced retirement of President Takeshi Kakiuchi and Chairman Shojiro Nan'ya on 1 February 2006 with Vice President Masao Yamazaki promoted to President and Mr Noritaka Kurauchi, former Chairman of Sumitomo Electric Industries, to become new Chairman, Mr Kakiuchi to continue accident reparation negotiations as director, and Mr Nan'ya to remain as advisor
Extraordinary general shareholders' meeting of third-sector 50-km Takachiho Railway (Nobeoka–Takachiho) agreed to closure of line following heavy damage from typhoon No. 14 in September and huge restoration costs, putting end to 17-year company history
12 JanuaryMarubeni Corporation consortium with Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Hitachi accepted order from Taiwan's Bureau of High Speed Rail to construct 51.2-km direct rail–air link from central Taipei to Chiang Kai-shek International Airport and supply 123 railcars and aboveground railway facilities with completion scheduled for September 2013
MLIT authorized StarFlyer of Kita Kyushu to operate regularly scheduled services with three Airbus A320s on 12 daily return flights between Haneda Airport and New Kita Kyushu Airport from 16 March
13 JanuaryBus on level crossing in Ust-Labinsk district of Krasnodar Territory, Russia, hit by train, killing 22 out of about 40 passengers
17 JanuaryAirbus announced top position for fifth consecutive year in aircraft sales with best-ever 1055 orders in 2005; 378 deliveries remained in first place for third year
19 JanuaryServices resumed on JR East's Uetsu main line between Sakata and Tsuruoka 25 days after train derailed and overturned in Shonai Town
23 JanuaryFull passenger train derailed into valley near Podogorica in Serbia and Montenegro, killing at least 44 people and injuring about 200
24 JanuaryFour track workers hit by six-car limited-express on JR West's Hakubi Line in Kofu Town, Tottori Prefecture, killing three and slightly injuring one
27 JanuaryJAL announced display of 30 pieces from 1985 Boeing 747SR crash at Safety Awareness Center to be opened in April 2006 at Haneda Airport
28 JanuaryMobile SUICA started service, giving customers access to trains by touching cell phone on automated ticket wickets; customers can also make digital purchases with phones
29 JanuaryPart of express train carrying about 400 passengers derailed into gorge near Jhelum, eastern Pakistan, killing at least three people and injuring 30


Mr Hiroshi Maruyama
Appointed Vice-Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on 2 August 2005. Graduated in economics from University of Tokyo in 1972, before joining former Ministry of Transport where served in several positions, including Director-General of Road Transport Bureau and Director-General of Railway Bureau

Mr Nobuaki Sato
Appointed Vice-Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on 15 August 2005. Graduated from Graduate School of Kyoto University in 1972 before joining former Ministry of Construction where served in number of positions, including Director-General of Road Bureau

Mr Masato Seiji
Appointed Vice-Minister for Engineering Affairs, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on 15 August 2005. Graduated in engineering from Hokkaido University in 1971, before joining former Ministry of Construction where served in several positions including Director-General of Chubu Regional Development Bureau

Mr Yukiyoshi Minehisa
Appointed Vice-Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on 15 August 2005. Graduated in law from University of Tokyo in 1972, before joining former Ministry of Construction where served in various positions, including Deputy Vice-Minister for Policy Coordination, Minister's Secretariat, and Director-General of Road Transport Bureau

Mr Eiichiro Kinoshitas
Nagoya Railroad (Meitetsu) Vice President named President from 1 October. Joined Bank of Japan (BOJ) in 1964 after graduating in law from the University of Tokyo. After career including head of BOJ Nagoya and Osaka branches, became Advisor to NTT System Technologies (now NTT Data System Technologies) in 1998 and Chairman in 1999. Joined Meitetsu in 2001, holding posts as Advisor and Senior Managing Director. Current President Misao Kimura to become Chairman with voting rights, replacing current Chairman Sokichi Minoura who retires to position of Board Adviser

Mr Tokuji Wakasa
Former Chairman of All Nippon Airways (ANA) died on 27 December. After graduating in law from University of Tokyo in 1938, joined former Ministry of Communications. Having successively filled various government posts, including Director of Marine Transportation Bureau and Administrative Vice Minister of Ministry of Transport (now MLIT), joined ANA in 1969, becoming President in 1970

Mr Masao Yamazaki
Appointed Representative Director and President of JR West from 1 February 2006. After graduating in civil aviation from University of Tokyo, joined former JNR in 1966, where served as Manager of Railway Operations Headquarters and Managing Director of JR West, President of JR West Maintec, and Vice President of JR West since June 2005

Mr Noritaka Kurauchi
Appointed part-time Chairman of JR West from June 2006. After graduating in engineering from University of Tokyo, joined Sumitomo Electric Industries in 1958 where served as President and Chairman, and company advisor since June 2003