This morning was supposed to see ANA and JAL simultaneously offer the first regularly scheduled international flights out of Tokyo’s Haneda airport following the opening of a fourth runway earlier this month.
ANA flight NH1006 to Los Angeles and JAL flight JL002 to San Fransisco were both scheduled to depart Haneda at 00:05 Sunday morning, granting neither carrier the title of first to depart.
In an example of renowned Japanese efficiency, NH1006 pushed back 14 minutes early at 23:51 Saturday night. But that was not enough to edge out JAL, whose JL002 pushed back 9 minutes earlier at 23:42, giving it the title of first carrier to depart HND (see flight statuses above).
You can watch a video of JL002′s departure here. The clip includes dozens of ramp workers waving goodbye to the flight, a scene that would resemble Times Square on New Year’s Eve if everyone wore white gloves and waved marshalling wands.
Despite the celebrations, I suspect somewhere there is a bureacrat woefully upset at this whole matter as history books will need to be re-written to reflect that the first departure occurred a day earlier than planned.
Images: FNN news, JAL website, ANA website