Narita fights to remain gateway to Tokyo
Sunday 24 October 2010
Tokyo's much-maligned Narita International Airport is fighting back as attention focuses on the improved services that are being made available at the city's other airport.
After its opening in May 1978, Narita was promoted as the international gateway to Japan, yet it was never truly popular with travelers because of its distance from central Tokyo - it has until recently taken around an hour to travel the 57 km - and the restrictions placed on early morning and late night flights due to noise pollution issues.
As a result, there was a sigh of relief when the government announced that it would turn the city's other international airport, Haneda, into a 24-hour facility with the addition of new runways on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay. And conveniently situated just 15 minutes from the center of the city, it is already attracting more airlines to its runways.
The expanded Haneda airport opened its new international terminal on October 21, but the operators of Narita have already announced expansion plans of their own.
The number of flights to and from the airport is to be gradually increased from 220,000 annually at present to 300,000 a year by 2014 through the more efficient use of runways and permitting simultaneous landings and take-offs from the airport's two runways.
Narita International Airport Corp. also wants to step up the number of flights to and from domestic destinations. Only eight domestic routes are served from Narita with the vast majority provided by Haneda at present.
In potentially the most far-reaching development, however, the company is planning to build a new terminal for low-cost carriers from other Asian nations and reducing its landing fees for airlines that open new routes to Narita.
Australia's Jetstar Airways is presently the only budget carrier flying into Narita, but Malaysia's AisAsia X is expected to add the airport to its destinations in the near future and Cebu Pacific Air, of the Philippines, is also reportedly interested in flying to the airport.
The company also hopes to feel the impact of the introduction of a new rail link with Tokyo, the Narita Sky Access, which only opened in July and has cut the transit time to just 36 minutes.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 Replica Back to the Future Hoverboard released
- 3 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
- 4 Dylan Moran on quitting smoking, being about as sexy as the Pope and why comedy panel programmes are 'c*ck shows'
- 5 Modern society encapsulated in five seconds
Exclusive: British roads and airports ready for rush as record-breaking numbers set to travel this Easter
The Atlas of Beauty: Photographer travels around the world to capture cultural diversity through stunning portraits of women
The 50 Best B&Bs
The 10 Best hiking boots
These are the 25 best beaches in the world
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
£24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...
£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...
£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...
£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...