Also to boost its capacity ahead of the 2020 Olympics, Tokyo’s Haneda Airport has doubled its international flights to 80 a day from Sunday in a bid to court international travellers. Haneda, the fourth busiest airport in the world, has better access to the Japanese capital’s downtown than suburban Narita Airport, which has until now been the major international gateway.
Japan’s transport ministry is aiming to boost international flights at both Haneda and Narita airports in anticipation of an influx of visitors for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
All Nippon Airways, which were given eleven of Narita’s take-off and landing slots – compared with only five for Japan Airlines -, announced last week it would buy 70 new planes worth of 16.4 billion US$ (40 from Boeing and 30 from Airbus) to expand its fleet ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Japan Airlines had expected to share the slots evenly with its rival, but the government gave 11 to ANA, which has routinely criticised once-bankrupt JAL’s massive bailout.
Many of the new flights out of the expanded Haneda airport will operate during the daytime, which is expected to increase its appeal to international flyers. “Not only Tokyoites but people from all over Japan will be able to benefit from it and easily fly all over the world,” said Japan Airlines president Yoshiharu Ueki. “I have always said that I wanted Haneda to become a gateway between domestic and international lines, and I think we made the first step towards it today.” ANA president Osamu Shinobe stated: “By better linking domestic and international flights, we can gain back travelers from regional airports in Japan, who have been using airports overseas instead”.
This article was republished with permission from Karl Heinz-Huba, the editor and publisher of The Sport Intern.