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
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...
£27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...