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Seamless measures needed to improve convenience of Tokyo’s airports

  • COURTESY JAPAN NATIONAL TOURISM ORGANIZATION

    Haneda Airport: The airport wants to increase international flights, with plans to reach 490,000 departures and landings each year.

  • COURTESY JAPAN NATIONAL TOURISM ORGANIZATION

    Narita Airport: The facility is seeking to improve rail service to the area to accommodate increasing visitor numbers.

The expansion of an airport is vital for strengthening urban functions.

To also smoothly accommodate the rapidly increasing flow of foreign visitors to Japan, measures must improve these facilities’ convenience.

The number of takeoffs and landings of airplanes at Narita Airport are expected to increase from 300,000 a year to 500,000.

A third runway is scheduled to be built and one of the existing runways will be extended. The airport’s operating hours will be extended from the current 17 hours a day to 19.5 hours. The airport aims at implementing these plans within the next 10 years.

At Haneda Airport, the government has a plan to establish new flight routes over central Tokyo, and increase the number of departures and landings to 490,000 a year, up by 40,000.

If realized, the combined departures and landings of the two airports would approach 1 million, making them one of the largest airport groups in the world.

The government has set an objective of seeing the number of foreign visitors to Japan increase from the present 28 million a year to 40 million by 2020.

Should this pace of increase continue, the number of flights coming into the two airports is anticipated to reach their capacity with the next 10 years. Therefore, expansion is inevitable.

Being located close to the city center, Haneda Airport is focused on improving the situation for international flights with a focus on Europe and North America.

Narita Airport is trying to attract low-cost carriers and make itself an international transit hub linking other Asian countries and the United States.

Major airports in other Asian countries, including China and South Korea, are far ahead of those in Japan in offering services to foreign airlines and passengers flying into their airports.

The fees that airlines pay to Narita and Haneda airports are known to be comparatively high, due to increased expenses such as the cost of acquiring land. Enhancing profitability of the airport terminal buildings through the expansion of retail shops there will be key.

By cooperating with railway operators and bus companies, Narita Airport also needs to tackle the improvement of its connections to the city center in the future.

Many residents in areas around the two airports have continuously expressed concern over noise problems that may arise with the anticipated increases in flights. The government and airport operators should consider soundproofing housing and other buildings.

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