Haneda opened a new international terminal and a runway today as it aims to attract more tourists and business travelers with its closer location to downtown Tokyo than Narita, the nation’s busiest overseas airport.
All Nippon Airways Co., Japan Airlines Corp., Singapore Airlines Ltd., and other carriers have said they will start flights to Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Bangkok, Taipei and Singapore from Haneda on Oct. 31. The airport plans to increase overseas take-off and landing slots to 90,000 as early as the 12 months starting April 2013, compared with 220,000 mainly international flight slots currently at Narita.
Japan’s government is trying to boost air traffic at Tokyo’s airports as the city faces challenges from Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai as regional financial hubs. Combined expansions at Haneda, Asia’s second-busiest airport after Beijing, and Narita will add about 1 trillion yen ($12.3 billion) to Japan’s economy next fiscal year by boosting tourism, air cargo and real estate prices, the government said in a June 2009 report.
“It should create a new section for the market,” Singapore Airlines Chief Executive Officer Chew Choon Seng told reporters in Tokyo today. “We don’t see any impact on Narita bookings” with the opening of the new Haneda terminal.
The terminal, built at a cost of $1.3 billion, is less than 30 minutes by train from Tokyo’s financial district, compared with about an hour for the 70 kilometer (40 mile) journey to Narita.
All Nippon Air, the nation’s largest domestic carrier, has bookings of more than 70 percent for the new international flights from Haneda, President Shinichiro Ito told reporters today in Tokyo.
The new terminal at Haneda, Japan’s busiest airport with 62 million passengers last year, will probably increase international passengers to 7 million in the first 12 months of operation, compared with about 2.5 million a year currently, according to Tokyo International Air Terminal Corp., manager of the new terminal.
Narita had 32 million passengers last year, according to owner Narita International Airport Corp.
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