• Airport held discussions with affected parties Thursday
  • Total cost of expansion project could exceed $1 billion

Narita International Airport Corp., operator of Japan’s busiest international airfield, is considering adding a third runway as an increase in overseas tourists boosts demand for flights.

The airport held discussions Thursday with the transport ministry, Chiba Prefecture and cities and towns around the airport, President Makoto Natsume told reporters in Tokyo on Friday.

The decision comes as Narita falls further behind Haneda airport, located much closer to the capital, as a base for domestic flights. Haneda now has nearly double the total passenger traffic of Narita, according to data from the International Air Transport Association, though Narita retains its primacy for international travelers.

The total cost to build a new runway and upgrade facilities may exceed 120 billion yen ($1 billion), he said. A government committee last year suggested adding another runway to increase Narita’s capacity.

The airport, which has expanded take-off and landing slots to 300,000 a year, handled 228,220 flights in the year ended March 31, according to figures from the airport.

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