Home' Asian Aviation : AAV July August 2011 Contents General News
Tokyo's Haneda Airport, which opened a
fourth runway and a new terminal in October
2010 with the goal of becoming a 24-hour
international hub, has seen passenger traffic
plunge since East Japan was devastated by an
earthquake and tsunami in March.
While there is still no accurate data available
on the decline of passenger traffic, the Ministry
of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and
Tourism (MLITT) in Tokyo estimates a drop of
about 20-22 percent since before the disaster
struck on 11 March. Demand for premium
travel dropped sharply after the magnitude
9.0 earthquake and resultant damage to the
Fukushima nuclear power plant.
A 6.7 magnitude 32km earthquake that took
place off the island of Honshu on 23 June could
further dampen hopes of a quick recovery.
Haneda had been counting on significant
growth after its expansion, as airline demand
for new slots at the airport was high.
The airport is popular with travellers thanks to
its proximity to Central Tokyo. Haneda is located
17km from Tokyo Station, and 13 minutes
by express train from Shinagawa Station. By
comparison, Tokyo's main international airport,
Narita, is 57.5km from Tokyo Station.
With Haneda's expansion, the Japanese
government had forecast an additional 2.3
million foreign tourists would visit Japan every
year, with the number of outbound Japanese
travellers expected to increase by about 4.1
million. MLITT now says it will take several years
before these numbers are realised.
The Ministry believes the number of
foreigners travelling to Japan this year will
drop as some tourists have opted for other
destinations due to radiation fears and business
travellers have postponed their trips. Some
airlines have also reduced capacity on some
routes to Japan.
In 2010, Haneda handled 69.05 million
passengers, an increase of 11.5 percent over the
previous year. It was the second busiest airport
in Asia after Beijing Capital International Airport,
which handled 73.9 million passengers.
In an effort to lure tourists back to Japan,
the Japan National Tourism Organisation has
set up websites in English, Chinese and Korean
to provide current levels of radiation to foreign
governments and airlines flying into Japan.
Haneda had its fair share of problems when
it opened, as landing and take-off slots for
flights to the US and Europe were restricted to
midnight and the early hours of the day. This
was a major setback to travellers, as no train
and bus services to the airport were available
during these hours.
Prior to its expansion, Haneda was the main
domestic airport serving the Tokyo metropolitan
area, after international flight flights were
transferred to Narita when that facility opened
in 1978. -- William Dennis
Haneda suffers after Japan earthquake
Before Haneda's expansion,
Narita Airport was the Japanese
capital's main international hub.
NARITA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
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