Japan’s international airport boosts capacity upto 10,000 more flights

TOKYO – Japan’s main international airport on Thursday hiked capacity to allow tens of thousands more flights annually as it faces rising competition and criticism over high landing fees.

Narita International Airport has opened 10 new spots for parking planes and a new strip to boost access to an existing runway, meaning available flight slots would rise to 270,000 annually, up from 250,000 now, it said.

Narita said it wants to boost competitiveness as rival Asian regional hubs, such as Singapore, try to lure away business.

The Japanese airport has faced criticism for a long time over expensive landing fees charged to airlines and its inconvenient location, about an hour express train ride from downtown Tokyo.

Narita has said it would cut landing fees from next month by as much as 50 percent for at least the next three years, as it also faces pressure from rival Haneda Airport which is far closer to the Japanese capital though it is heavily focused on domestic services.

Later this month, Japan is ushering in a deregulation pact with about two dozen countries including the United States that will let airlines freely decide on the routes and frequency of their flights to and from Japan, without first winning Tokyo’s approval.

The deal covers some 91 percent of overseas flights arriving and departing from Japan.