Tokyo-Narita International Airport

成田国際空港

Narita Kokusai Kūkō
Aerial view of NRT in 2008
Summary
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorNarita International Airport Corporation (NAA)
ServesGreater Tokyo Area
LocationNarita, Chiba, Japan
Opened20 May 1978; 45 years ago (1978-05-20)
Hub for
Elevation AMSL41 m / 135 ft
Coordinates35°45′55″N 140°23′08″E / 35.76528°N 140.38556°E / 35.76528; 140.38556
Websitewww.narita-airport.jp/en
Maps
RJAA is located in Chiba Prefecture
RJAA
RJAA
Location in Chiba Prefecture
RJAA is located in Japan
RJAA
RJAA
Location in Japan
RJAA is located in Asia
RJAA
RJAA
Location in Asia
Map
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
16R/34L 4,000 13,123 Asphalt
16L/34R 2,500 8,202 Asphalt
Statistics (2023)
Passengers32,705,995
Cargo (metric tonnes)2,356,119
Aircraft movements165,264

Narita International Airport (Japanese: 成田国際空港, romanizedNarita Kokusai Kūkō) (IATA: NRT, ICAO: RJAA), also known as Tokyo-Narita International Airport, formerly and originally known as New Tokyo International Airport (新東京国際空港, Shin Tōkyō Kokusai Kūkō), is one of two international airports serving the Greater Tokyo Area, the other one being Haneda Airport (HND). It is about 60 kilometers (37 mi) east of central Tokyo in Narita, Chiba.[2] The facility since July 2019, covers 1,137 hectares (2,810 acres) of land and there are future plans to expand to nearly 1,200 ha (3,000 acres).[3]

The conceptualization of Narita was highly controversial and remains so to the present day, especially among local residents in the area. This has led to the Sanrizuka Struggle, stemming from the government's decision to construct the airport without consulting most residents in the area, as well as expropriating their lands in the process. Even after the airport was eventually completed, air traffic movements have been controlled under various noise related operating restrictions due to its direct proximity with residential neighborhoods, including a house with a farm that is located right in between the runways.[4] As a result, the airport must be closed from 00:00 (12:00am) to 06:00 (6:00am) the next day to minimize the noise pollution impact around the airport.[5]

Narita is the busiest airport in Japan by international passenger and international cargo traffic.[6] In 2018, Narita had 33.4 million international passengers and 2.2 million tonnes of international cargo.[7] In 2018, Narita was also the second-busiest airport in Japan in terms of aircraft movements (after Haneda Airport in Tokyo)[7] and the tenth-busiest air freight hub in the world.[8] Its 4,000-meter (13,123 ft) main runway shares the record for longest runway in Japan with the second runway at Kansai International Airport in Osaka.[9] Narita serves as the main international hub of Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways and Nippon Cargo Airlines, and as a hub for low-cost carriers Jetstar Japan and Peach.

History

Construction and local resistance

Anti-airport protesters' equipment and weapons
Steel tower built by protesters adjacent to Narita Airport
Riot squad vehicles patrolling the outskirts of Tokyo Narita Airport

See also: Sanrizuka Struggle

Before Narita opened, Tokyo International Airport (also known as Haneda Airport) was Tokyo's main international airport. Haneda, located in Tokyo Bay was surrounded by densely populated residential and industrial areas, and began to suffer capacity and noise issues in the early 1960s as jet aircraft became common. The Japanese transport ministry commissioned a study of alternate airport locations in 1963, and in 1965 selected a plan to build a five-runway airport in the village of Tomisato.[10] The site was later moved 5 km (3.1 mi) northeast to the villages of Sanrizuka and Shibayama, where the Imperial Household had a large farming estate. This development plan was made public in 1966.[11]

The government argued that one merit of the site was the relative ease of expropriation of land [ja]. However, local residents were not consulted during the initial planning phase, and learned of the selection of the airport site through the news. This led to shock and anger among the local community, which continued for many years. Though the Japanese government had eminent domain power by law, such power was rarely used due to a preference to resolve land disputes consensually.[12]

At the time, the socialist movement still had considerable strength in Japan, evidenced by the large-scale student riots in Tokyo in 1960.[13] Many in the "new left" such as Chūkaku-ha opposed building Narita, reasoning that the real purpose for the new airport was to promote capitalism and to provide additional facilities for US military aircraft in the event of war with the Soviet Union. These individuals sought to ally with the more conservative local farmers who simply did not want to give up their land for the airport.[14]

About 1966, a group of local residents combined with student activists and left-wing political parties formed a popular resistance group, the Sanrizuka-Shibayama Union to Oppose the Airport [ja] (三里塚芝山連合空港反対同盟; Sanrizuka-Shibayama Rengo Kūkō Hantai Dōmei), which remained active until fracturing in 1983 and they started protest activity called Sanrizuka Struggle (三里塚闘争; Sanrizuka TōSō).[14] Similar strategies had already been employed during the postwar era to block the expansion of Tachikawa Air Base and other US military facilities in Japan.[14] In June and July 1966, the Union sent formal protests to the mayor of Narita, the governor and vice-governor of Chiba Prefecture and the prefectural office of the Liberal Democratic Party.[14] In November 1967, when the Transport Ministry began surveying the perimeter of the airport, Union members set up roadblocks. The Zengakuren radical student union then began sending students to Narita to help the local farmers.[14] During eminent domain, three policemen were killed by activists.[citation needed]

Takenaka Corporation constructed the first terminal building, which was completed in 1972. The first runway took several more years due to constant fights with the Union and sympathizers, who occupied several pieces of land necessary to complete the runway and temporarily built large towers in the runway's path.[13] In 1977, the government had finally destroyed the towers, but one activist [ja] and one policeman were killed [ja].

The runway was completed and the airport scheduled to open on March 30, 1978, but this plan was disrupted when, on March 26, 1978, a group of protestors broke into the control tower [ja] and destroyed much of its equipment, causing about $500,000 in damage and delaying the opening until May 20.[15][16][circular reference]

The airport opened under a high level of security; the airfield was surrounded by opaque metal fencing and overlooked by guard towers staffed with riot police. 14,000 security police were at the airport's opening and were met by 6,000 protesters; a Japanese newscaster remarked at the time that "Narita resembles nothing so much as Saigon Airport during the Vietnam War."[17] Protestors attacked police on the opening day with rocks and firebombs while police responded with water cannons; on the other side of Tokyo, a separate group of protestors claimed responsibility for cutting the power supply to an air traffic control facility at Tokorozawa, which shut down most air traffic in the Tokyo area for several hours.[15] The National Diet passed a special statute, the Emergency Measures Act Relating to the Preservation of Security at New Tokyo International Airport [ja], specifically banning the construction and use of buildings for violent and coercive purposes relating to the new airport.[18] Nevertheless, several people have been killed by terrorism, including in arson incidents against Totetsu Kogyo [ja] and Nippi Corp. employees [ja] in 1983 and 1990, respectively, as well as an attack on a Chiba Prefecture official [ja] in 1988.

The conflicts at Narita were a major factor in the decision to build Kansai International Airport in Osaka offshore on reclaimed land, instead of again trying to expropriate land in heavily populated areas.[19]

Japan's international flag carrier, Japan Airlines, moved its main international hub from Haneda to Narita, and Northwest and Pan American also moved their Asian regional hubs from Haneda to Narita. Pan American transferred its Pacific Division, including its Narita hub, to United Airlines in February 1986.[20] Japanese domestic carrier All Nippon Airways began scheduled international flights from Narita to Guam in 1986.[21]

Security

From 1978 to 2015, Narita Airport was the only airport in Japan where visitors were required to show ID upon entry, due to the tumultuous history of the airport's construction and the violent protests before, during, and after its opening. By 2012, Narita's operator was considering dispensing with the security checks. Given that the number of flight slots at Narita are also increasing, the anti-airport struggles were a long time ago, and Haneda Airport began to re-instate international flights, a council headed by Chiba governor Kensaku Morita consisting of prefectural government officials, the Narita International Airport Corporation and business groups in Narita, proposed scrapping the ID checks. The Chiba prefectural police objected, stating that the checks were necessary to detect extremists and terrorists.[22]

NAA experimented with a new threat detection system for two months in 2013, using a combination of cameras, explosive detectors, dogs and other measures in lieu of passport and baggage checks upon entering the terminal. In March 2015, NAA announced that the ID checks would cease and the new system would be used for terminal building security, effective as of the end of that month.[23]

Narita Airport was the first Japanese airport to house millimeter wave scanners. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced in March 2010 that trials would be carried out at Narita from July 5 through September 10, 2010. Five types of machines were to be tested sequentially outside the Terminal 1 South Wing security checkpoint; the subjects were Japanese nationals who volunteered for trial screening, as well as airport security staff during hours when the checkpoint is closed.[24]

Privatization

Headquarters of NAA

See also: Narita International Airport Corporation

In 2003, a Narita International Airport Corporation Act (成田国際空港株式会社法) was passed to provide for the privatization of the airport. As part of this change, on April 1, 2004, New Tokyo International Airport was officially renamed Narita International Airport, reflecting its popular designation since its opening. The airport was also moved from government control to the authority of a new Narita International Airport Corporation, usually abbreviated to "NAA."[25]

The headquarters is on the airport grounds. The authority previously had its head office in Tokyo with some offices in and around Narita; the head office moved and the Narita offices consolidated according to the decision by the Japanese Cabinet in July 1988 making it a special corporation.[26] The NAA head office started operations at the airport on July 1, 1996,[27] in the former Japan Airlines operations center, acquired by NAA in July 1994. Renovations occurred from September 1995 to March 1996. After the move, the Kishimoto Building in Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tokyo housed the NAA's Tokyo functions.[26]

To assist in the relationship with the local community, NAA operates the Community Consultation Center (地域相談センター) and the Airport Information Center (空港情報センター).[28] The Community Consultation Center is in the Chiyoda Branch of Shibayama-machi Community Center in Osato, Shibayama,[29] while the Airport Information Center is located in Sanrizuka, Narita.[30]

Expansion and increased capacity

Airport layout (Before the opening of Terminal 3)

New Tokyo International Airport was originally envisioned to have five runways, but the initial protests in 1965 led to a down-scaling of the plan to three runways: two parallel northwest–southeast runways 4,000 m (13,123 ft) in length and an intersecting northeast–southwest runway 3,200 m (10,499 ft) in length. Upon the airport's opening in 1978, only one of the parallel runways was completed (16R/34L, also known as "Runway A"); the other two runways were delayed to avoid aggravating the already tense situation surrounding the airport. The original plan also called for a high-speed rail line, the Narita Shinkansen, to connect the airport to central Tokyo, but this project was also cancelled with only some of the necessary land obtained.[14]

By 1986, the strengthening Japanese yen was causing a surge of foreign business and leisure travel from Japan, which made Narita's capacity shortage more apparent. However, eight families continued to own slightly less than 53 acres (21 ha) of land on the site that would need to be expropriated in order to complete the other two runways. Although the government could legally force a sale of the land, it elected not to do so "because of fears of more violence."[31] By 1991, Narita was handling 22 million passengers a year, despite only having a design capacity of 13 million.[32]

Terminal 2 and the second runway "B"

The exterior of Terminal 2
Panorama from inside the Yahoo! Internet Cafe showing the Terminal 2 satellite, ramp control tower and airport shuttle (removed in 2013)
During certain times of the day, Mt.Fuji and Tokyo Skytree are visible when approaching the runway

On November 26, 1986, the airport authority began work on Phase II, a new terminal and runway north of the airport's original main runway.[citation needed] To avoid the problems that plagued the first phase, the Minister of Transport promised in 1991 that the expansion would not involve expropriation.[citation needed] Residents in surrounding regions were compensated for the increased noise-pollution with home upgrades and soundproofing.[citation needed]

Terminal 2 opened on December 4, 1992,[33] at a cost of $1.36 billion. The new terminal had approximately 1.5 times the space of the older terminal, but its anti-congestion benefits were delayed because of the need to close and renovate much of the older terminal. The airport's land situation also meant that the taxiway to the new terminal was one-way for much of its length, and that taxi times between the terminal and runway were up to 30 minutes.[32]

The Runway B (16L/34R) opened on April 17, 2002, in time for the World Cup events held in Korea and Japan that year. However, its final length of 2,180 m (7,152 ft), much shorter than its original plan length of 2,500 m (8,202 ft), left it too short to accommodate Boeing 747s.[34] The runway was further impeded by a three-story concrete building in the path of its taxiway, which the Union had constructed in 1966, forcing the taxiway to bend inward toward the runway. This imposed restrictions on the number of aircraft that could use the runway, since it was impossible for an aircraft to safely pass through the curve in the taxiway while another aircraft was using the runway.[35] Runway B's limitations were made particularly apparent following the 2009 crash of FedEx Express Flight 80, which shut down Runway A and forced some heavy aircraft to divert to other airports such as nearby Tokyo Haneda Airport.

The Runway B was extended northward to 2,500 meters (8,202 ft) on October 22, 2009,[36] allowing an additional 20,000 flights per year.[37][38] In 2008, the Supreme Court of Japan ruled in favor of the airport authority regarding ownership of Union-occupied land in the path of the taxiway, allowing the taxiway to be modified to provide enough room for safe passing.[35] The building remained in place until August 2011, when authorities removed it under a court order; 500 police officers were dispatched to provide security for the operation while 30 airport opponents protested.[39] Beginning on October 20, 2011, the airport was approved to allow simultaneous landings and take-offs from the A and B runways. The approval allowed the airport to increase annual take offs from 220,000 to 235,000 and increase hourly departure capacity from 32 to 46. The parallel runways are 2.5 km (1.6 mi) apart.[40]

Transit upgrades

Railway routes between Tokyo and NRT. Narita Express of JR East is in gray. New Skyliner route is in purple. The Keisei Main Line is in green.

Since its construction, Narita has been criticized for its distance from central Tokyo, with journeys taking an hour by the fastest train and often longer by road due to traffic jams. Narita's distance is even more problematic for residents and businesses in west Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture, both of which are much closer to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport).[citation needed]

Through the end of the 1980s, Narita Airport's train station was located fairly far from the terminal, and passengers faced either a long walk or a bus ride (at an additional charge and subject to random security screenings). Transport Minister Shintaro Ishihara, who later served as governor of Tokyo, pressed airport train operators JR East and Keisei Electric Railway to connect their lines directly to the airport's terminals, and opened up the underground station that would have accommodated the Shinkansen for regular train service. Direct train service to Terminal 1 began on March 19, 1991, and the old Narita Airport Station was renamed Higashi-Narita Station.

The Narita Sky Access Line opened on July 17, 2010, cutting 20 minutes off the travel time. The line's new Skyliner airport limited express services with a maximum speed of 160 km/h (99 mph) are scheduled between Tokyo's Nippori Station and Narita Airport Terminal 2·3 Station in 36 minutes, which compares favorably with other major airports worldwide. A new expressway, the North Chiba Road, is also under construction along the Narita Rapid Railway corridor. Improvements such as the Wangan Expressway also shaved off travel time to Kanagawa Prefecture by bypassing Tokyo.

The Japanese government has also invested in several local infrastructure projects in order to address the demands of airport neighbors. The largest of these is the Shibayama Railway, a short railway connection between the Keisei Main Line and the area immediately east of Narita Airport. This line opened in 2002 with government and NAA support after extensive demands from Shibayama residents, and provides a direct rail link from Shibayama to Narita City, Chiba City and central Tokyo. Another such project is the Museum of Aeronautical Sciences in Shibayama Town, which draws tourists and student groups to the area.[41]

Future developments

Runway B extension

A further extension of the Runway B to 3,500 meters (11,483 ft) has been under official consideration since 2014.[42] Permitting for the extension was approved in January 2020.[43] The final plan calls for the runway to be extended to the northwest, and requires a 430-metre (1,410 ft) section of the Higashi-Kanto Expressway to be replaced with a tunnel beneath the runway; construction is scheduled to be complete in fiscal year 2028.[43]

Runway C

The airport's original master plan also included a planned 3,200 meters (10,499 ft) third "C" runway, which would be a crossing runway south of the passenger terminals. Although the majority of the land and equipment required in order to build the runway are under NAA's ownership, small portions of land needed to be accessed in order to build the runway are still blocked by airport protesters, and areas south of the South Wing of the terminal are being used as aircraft parking and storage. Noise abatement would also be an issue, especially since there are major towns such as Yachimata on the planned departure/arrival routes. Noise abatement negotiations would have to be worked through in order to use the runway, otherwise a Kai-Tak style approach would be necessary, which is less than favourable. For these following reasons, building work on the third "C" runway was finally aborted.[44]

In March 2018, NAA released a new masterplan for expansion, which included a third "Runway C" on the east side of the airport to be completed by 2028. The new runway will increase the airport's annual slot capacity from 300,000 to 460,000. The runway project will enable the airport to extend the airport's operating hours to cover the period between 12:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. Local authorities agreed to the expansion plan after an 18-month process due to the need for further local revitalization.[45] The final plan, approved in January 2020 and published in December 2021, calls for a 3,500-meter (11,483 ft) runway on the east side of the airport, built over two underground road tunnels, with completion by fiscal year 2028.[43]

Terminals

In September 2022, NAA announced a conceptual plan to consolidate the three existing terminals into a single facility called "One Terminal."[46] Plans had previously called for a fourth terminal building to be added in conjunction with the construction of Runway C, but due to the aging of the older terminals, NAA opted to plan for the replacement of the older terminals with new structures.[47] The plans also call for a new cargo facility and upgraded transit links to central Tokyo.[48]

Terminals

Narita was among the first airports in the world to align its terminals around the three major international airline alliances. Since 2006, the airport has arranged for SkyTeam carriers to use the North Wing of Terminal 1, Star Alliance carriers to use the South Wing of Terminal 1, and Oneworld carriers to use Terminal 2.[49]

Terminal 1

Terminal 1 uses a satellite terminal design divided into a North Wing (北ウイング, kita-uingu), Central Building (中央ビル, chūō-biru), and a South Wing (南ウイング, minami-uingu). Two circular satellites, Satellites 1 (gates 11–18) and 2 (gates 21–24), are connected to the North Wing. Satellites 3 and 4 (gates 26–38 and gates 41–47) compose a linear concourse connected to the Central Building. Satellite 5 (gates 51–58) is connected to the South Wing. The terminal building has a floorspace of 463,000 m2 (4,980,000 sq ft) and equipped with 40 gates.[50]

Check-in is processed on the fourth floor, and departures and immigration control are on the third floor. Arriving passengers clear immigration on the second floor, then claim their baggage and clear customs on the first floor. Most shops and restaurants are located on the fourth floor of the Central Building. The South Wing includes a duty-free mall called "Narita Nakamise", one of the largest airport duty-free brand boutique malls in Japan.

The North Wing has served as an alliance hub for SkyTeam since 2007,[51] and previously housed the Northwest Airlines hub, which was acquired by Delta Air Lines in 2010. Delta transferred all of its Tokyo operations from Narita to Haneda in March 2020.[52] Other carriers in the North Wing are Aero Mongolia, Aircalin, Aurora Airlines, China Southern Airlines, El Al, Etihad Airways, Hong Kong Airlines, Jin Air, Peach Aviation international flights, Royal Brunei Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, WestJet and Zipair Tokyo.[53]

The South Wing and Satellite 5 opened in June 2006 as a terminal for Star Alliance carriers. The construction of the South Wing took nearly a decade and more than doubled the floor area of Terminal 1.[49] Today, almost all Star Alliance members, including Japan's All Nippon Airways, use this wing, along with non-members Air Busan, Air Seoul, Scoot, Shandong Airlines, and Uzbekistan Airways.[53]

ANA and Peach domestic flights use a separate area of the terminal accessed from the arrivals floor of the South Wing.[53]

Terminal 2

Terminal 2, which opened in 1992, is divided into a main building (本館, honkan) and satellite (サテライト, sateraito), both of which are designed around linear concourses. The two were connected by the Terminal 2 Shuttle System, which was designed by Japan Otis Elevator and was the first cable-driven people mover in Japan. A new walkway between the main and satellite buildings began operation on September 27, 2013, and the shuttle system was discontinued.[54] Terminal 2 can handle large aircraft like the Airbus A380 (operated by Emirates) and the Boeing 747-8. Terminal 2 has an area of 391,000 m2 (4,210,000 sq ft) and 32 boarding gates.[50]

Terminal 2 includes a duty-free mall called "Narita 5th Avenue [ja]", the largest duty-free mall in Japan.

For domestic flights, three gates (65, 66, and 67) in the main building are connected to both the main departures concourse and to a separate domestic check-in facility. Passengers connecting between domestic and international flights must exit the gate area, walk to the other check-in area, and then check in for their connecting flight.

Japan Airlines is currently the main operator in T2. The terminal has served as a hub for all Oneworld alliance carriers at NRT since 2010, when British Airways moved from Terminal 1.[55] Several other airlines also use the terminal, these are SkyTeam carriers China Airlines and China Eastern Airlines, as well as Star Alliance carrier Air India and connecting partner Juneyao Air and non-affiliated carriers Air Macau, Air Premia, Bamboo Airways, Batik Air Malaysia, Cebu Pacific, Eastar Jet, Emirates, Fly Gangwon, Greater Bay Airlines, Hainan Airlines, MIAT, Nepal Airlines, Pakistan International Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Starlux Airlines, Thai AirAsia X, Tigerair Taiwan, T'way Air, and VietJet.[53] All Nippon Airways and several other Star Alliance carriers used Terminal 2 prior to the expansion of the Terminal 1 South Wing in 2006.[49]

Terminal 3

Interior of Terminal 3

Terminal 3, a terminal for low-cost carriers, opened on April 8, 2015. It is located 500 metres (1,640 ft) north of Terminal 2, where a cargo building used to sit, and has a capacity of 50,000 flights per year. The new terminal incorporates several cost-cutting measures, including using decals instead of lighted directional signs and using outdoor gates and airstairs instead of jet bridges, which are intended to reduce facility costs for airlines and their passengers by around 40% on international flights and 15% on domestic flights. Taisei Corporation was awarded a ¥11.2 billion contract to build the terminal in January 2013.[56] The airport also constructed a new LCC apron to the north of the terminal, with five additional parking slots for Airbus A320 and similarly sized aircraft.[57]

Jeju Air, Jetstar, Jetstar Japan, Spring Airlines, and Spring Japan use Terminal 3.[53] The terminal also includes a 24-hour food court, which is the largest airport food court in Japan, and 2 multi faith prayer rooms. It was built at a cost of 15 billion yen and covers 66,000 m2 (710,000 sq ft) of floor space.[58][50]

Airlines and destinations

Passenger

AirlinesDestinations
Aero K Cheongju
Aeroméxico Mexico City
Aero Mongolia Ulaanbaatar
AirAsia X Kuala Lumpur–International, Taipei–Taoyuan (both resume 31 May 2024)[59]
Air Busan Busan, Seoul–Incheon
Aircalin Nouméa
Air Canada Montréal–Trudeau, Toronto–Pearson, Vancouver
Air China Beijing–Capital, Dalian,[60] Hangzhou, Shanghai–Pudong, Tianjin[60]
Air France Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Air India Delhi
Air Japan Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi,[61] Seoul–Incheon,[62] Singapore (begins 26 April 2024)[63]
Air Macau Macau
Air New Zealand Auckland
Air Premia Seoul–Incheon
Air Seoul Seoul–Incheon
Air Tahiti Nui Papeete[64]
All Nippon Airways Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Brussels, Chicago–O'Hare, Dalian, Hangzhou, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong (resumes 16 April 2024),[65] Honolulu, Jakarta–Soekarno-Hatta, Kuala Lumpur–International, Los Angeles, Manila, Mexico City, Mumbai, Nagoya–Centrair, Perth,[66] Qingdao, San Francisco, Sapporo–Chitose, Shanghai–Pudong, Shenzhen, Singapore, Wuhan, Xiamen
American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth
ANA Wings Nagoya–Centrair
Asiana Airlines Seoul–Incheon
Austrian Airlines Seasonal: Vienna
Batik Air Malaysia Kuala Lumpur–International, Taipei–Taoyuan
Biman Bangladesh Airlines Dhaka[67]
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong, Taipei–Taoyuan
Cebu Pacific Cebu, Clark,[68] Manila
China Airlines Kaohsiung, Taipei–Taoyuan
China Eastern Airlines Kunming, Nanjing, Qingdao, Shanghai–Pudong, Wuhan,[69] Xi'an
China Southern Airlines Changchun, Dalian, Guangzhou,[70] Harbin, Shanghai–Pudong, Shenyang
Eastar Jet Seoul–Incheon[71]
Egyptair Cairo[72]
El Al Tel Aviv[73]
Emirates Dubai–International
Ethiopian Airlines Addis Ababa, Seoul–Incheon
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
EVA Air Kaohsiung, Taipei–Taoyuan
Fiji Airways Nadi
Finnair Helsinki
Garuda Indonesia Denpasar, Manado
Greater Bay Airlines Hong Kong
Hainan Airlines Beijing–Capital, Xi'an
Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu
HK Express Hong Kong
Hong Kong Airlines Hong Kong
Iberia Madrid (resumes 27 October 2024)[74]
Japan Airlines Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Beijing–Capital, Bengaluru, Boston, Frankfurt, Fukuoka, Guam, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Jakarta–Soekarno-Hatta, Kaohsiung, Kuala Lumpur–International, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Nagoya–Centrair, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, Shanghai–Pudong, Singapore, Taipei–Taoyuan, Vancouver
Jeju Air Busan, Guam, Seoul–Incheon
Jetstar Brisbane,[75] Cairns
Jetstar Japan Asahikawa,[76] Fukuoka, Kagoshima, Kōchi-Ryoma, Kumamoto, Manila, Matsuyama, Miyazaki, Nagasaki, Naha, Ōita, Osaka–Kansai, Sapporo–Chitose, Shanghai–Pudong, Shimojishima, Shonai, Taipei–Taoyuan, Takamatsu
Jin Air Busan, Seoul–Incheon
Juneyao Air Shanghai–Pudong
KLM Amsterdam
Korean Air Busan, Seoul–Incheon
LOT Polish Airlines Warsaw–Chopin
Malaysia Airlines Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur–International
MIAT Mongolian Airlines Ulaanbaatar
Nepal Airlines Kathmandu
Peach Amami Oshima, Fukuoka, Ishigaki, Kagoshima, Kaohsiung, Kushiro, Miyazaki, Nagasaki, Naha, Oita, Osaka–Kansai, Sapporo–Chitose, Taipei–Taoyuan
Philippine Airlines Cebu, Manila
Philippines AirAsia Manila
Qantas Brisbane, Melbourne[77]
Qatar Airways Doha
Royal Brunei Airlines Bandar Seri Begawan
Scoot Singapore, Taipei–Taoyuan
Shandong Airlines Jinan
Shenzhen Airlines Shenzhen, Wuxi
Sichuan Airlines Chengdu–Tianfu
Singapore Airlines Los Angeles, Singapore
Spring Airlines Hangzhou, Shanghai–Pudong, Shijiazhuang (begins 24 April 2024)[78]
Spring Airlines Japan Harbin, Hiroshima, Ningbo,[79] Sapporo–Chitose, Shanghai–Pudong,[80] Tianjin
SriLankan Airlines Colombo–Bandaranaike
Starlux Airlines Taipei–Taoyuan
Swiss International Air Lines Zürich
Thai AirAsia Bangkok–Don Mueang, Kaohsiung (both begin 16 June 2024)[81]
Thai AirAsia X Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi
Thai Airways International Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi
Thai Lion Air Bangkok–Don Mueang, Taipei–Taoyuan[82]
Tigerair Taiwan Kaohsiung, Taipei–Taoyuan
Turkish Airlines Istanbul
T'way Air Daegu, Seoul–Incheon
United Airlines Cebu (begins 31 July 2024),[83] Denver, Guam, Houston–Intercontinental, Los Angeles, Newark, Saipan, San Francisco
Uzbekistan Airways Tashkent[84]
VietJet Air Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam Airlines Da Nang, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City
WestJet Seasonal: Calgary
XiamenAir Fuzhou, Xiamen
Zipair Tokyo Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Manila, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), Seoul–Incheon, Singapore, Vancouver[85]

Cargo

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AirlinesDestinations
AeroLogic Hong Kong, Leipzig/Halle
Air China Cargo Beijing–Capital, Shanghai–Pudong
Air France Cargo Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Air Hong Kong Hong Kong[86]
Air Incheon Seoul–Incheon
ANA Cargo Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Beijing–Capital, Dalian, Frankfurt,[87] Guangzhou,[86] Hong Kong, Jakarta–Soekarno-Hatta, Los Angeles, Manila,[88] Naha, Osaka–Kansai, Qingdao,[86] Seoul–Incheon, Shanghai–Pudong, Singapore, Taipei–Taoyuan, Xiamen
Asiana Cargo Seoul–Incheon
Atlas Air[89] Anchorage, Chicago–O'Hare, Cincinnati, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Milan–Malpensa, Nagoya–Centrair, Seoul–Incheon, Shanghai–Pudong, Shenzhen, Taipei–Taoyuan, Xiamen
Cargojet Shanghai–Pudong, Vancouver
Cargolux Luxembourg,[86] Novosibirsk,[90] Seoul–Incheon[90]
Cargolux Italia Luxembourg,[86] Milan–Malpensa[86]
Cathay Cargo Hong Kong, Taipei–Taoyuan
Central Airlines Tianjin, Weihai, Yantai
China Airlines Cargo Taipei–Taoyuan
China Cargo Airlines Shanghai–Pudong
China Postal Airlines Guangzhou, Nanjing, Shanghai–Pudong, Shijiazhuang
DHL Aviation Anchorage, Chicago–O'Hare, Cincinnati, Hong Kong, Leipzig, Miami, Seoul–Incheon
Emirates SkyCargo Dubai–Al Maktoum
EVA Air Cargo Taipei–Taoyuan
FedEx Express Anchorage, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Memphis, Oakland, Osaka–Kansai, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Seoul–Incheon, Shanghai–Pudong, Taipei–Taoyuan
Garuda Cargo Jakarta–Soekarno-Hatta
JAL Cargo Nagoya–Centrair, Shanghai–Pudong, Taipei–Taoyuan[91]
Jeju Air Cargo Seoul–Incheon[92]
KLM Cargo Amsterdam
Longhao Airlines Zhengzhou
Korean Air Cargo Bogotá, Seoul–Incheon
Lufthansa Cargo Frankfurt, Seoul–Incheon
MASkargo Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur–International, Penang
MSC Air Cargo Milan–Malpensa[93]
Nippon Cargo Airlines Amsterdam, Anchorage, Baku,[94] Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Beijing–Capital, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Edmonton,[95] Hahn,[86] Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Milan–Malpensa, Nagoya–Centrair, New York–JFK, Osaka–Kansai, San Francisco, Seoul–Incheon, Shanghai–Pudong, Singapore, Tianjin
Polar Air Cargo Anchorage, Cincinnati, Hong Kong, Los Angeles,[86] Seoul–Incheon, Shanghai–Pudong, Shenzhen, Sydney, Taipei–Taoyuan
Qatar Airways Cargo Doha
SF Airlines Wuhan,[96] Xi’an[97]
Silk Way West Airlines Baku[98]
Singapore Airlines Cargo Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Singapore
UPS Airlines Anchorage, Louisville, Newark, Ontario, Osaka–Kansai, Shanghai–Pudong, Shenzhen
Western Global Airlines Chicago–O'Hare
YTO Cargo Airlines Yantai,[86] Zhengzhou

Statistics

Busiest routes

Tokyo-Narita International airport passenger destinations (as of December 2022)
Swiss Air Lines, United Airlines, Thai Airways at Narita
Aerial photograph of Narita International Airport (September 2014)
Busiest domestic routes to and from NRT (2018)[99]
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Sapporo–Chitose 1,829,795 All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Jetstar Japan, Peach, Spring Japan
2 Fukuoka 1,159,026 All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Jetstar Japan, Peach
3 Osaka–Kansai 770,839 Jetstar Japan, Peach
4 Naha 732,588 All Nippon Airways, Jetstar Japan, Peach
5 Osaka–Itami 465,795 All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines
Busiest international routes to Europe from NRT, excluding Russia (2017)[100]
Rank Airport Passengers Annual change Carriers
1 Finland Helsinki 348,259 Increase 24.5% Finnair, Japan Airlines
2 France Paris–Charles de Gaulle 286,345 Increase 2.7% Air France
3 Netherlands Amsterdam 251,852 Increase 7.9% KLM
4 Italy Rome–Fiumicino 196,884 Increase 2.9% Alitalia
5 Switzerland Zurich 144,410 Increase 1.6% Swiss International Air Lines
6 Denmark Copenhagen 144,374 Increase 0.8% Scandinavian
7 United Kingdom London–Heathrow 137,030 Decrease 7.1% British Airways
8 Germany Frankfurt 129,796 Decrease 33.2% Japan Airlines
9 Italy Milan–Malpensa 128,467 Decrease 3.5% Alitalia
10 Germany Düsseldorf 117,887 Increase 21.2% All Nippon Airways

Airport operation statistics

Number of passengers

Graphs are unavailable due to technical issues. There is more info on Phabricator and on MediaWiki.org.
Annual passenger traffic at NRT airport. See Wikidata query.

Cargo volume (tons)

500,000
1,000,000
1,500,000
2,000,000
2,500,000
3,000,000
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
  •   Domestic
  •   International

Source: Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism[101][102]

Other facilities

Air traffic control towers

Main control tower, old and new ramp control towers. The middle tower, which served as the airport's main control tower for 25 years from its opening in 1978 until 1993, was occupied and vandalized by protesters on March 26, 1978, contributing to the two-month delay. It was converted into a ramp control tower in 1993, following the construction and opening of a new control tower (left of photo) and was demolished in 2018, transferring ramp control to the new ramp tower (right of photo).

There are three air traffic control towers at Narita. The main control tower and one of the ramp control towers stand on the geographical center the airport, and another ramp tower is directly above Terminal 2. The main tower is used by Japan Civil Aviation Bureau's ATC, while the ramp towers are used by the NAA officers. The ramp control will be transferred to the brand new tower in 2020.[103]

Jet fuel supply pipelines

The airport is connected by a 47 km (29 mi) pipeline to the port of Chiba City and to a fuel terminal in Yotsukaido.[104] The pipeline opened in 1983,[105] and had pumped 130 billion liters of fuel to Narita Airport by its thirtieth anniversary of operations in 2013.[104]

Corporate offices

Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA) has its headquarters on the grounds of Narita Airport,[106][107] in the NCA Line Maintenance Hangar (NCAライン整備ハンガー, NCA Rain Seibi Hangā).[108] Previously NCA had its headquarters on the fourth floor of the Cargo Administration Building (貨物管理ビル, Kamotsu Kanri Biru)).[109][110]

Japan Airlines operates the Japan Airlines Narita Operation Center (日本航空成田オペレーションセンター, Nihon Kōkū Narita Operēshon Sentā) at Narita Airport. The subsidiary airline JALways once had its headquarters in the building.[111] All Nippon Airways also has a dedicated "Sky Center" operations building adjacent to Terminal 1, which serves as the headquarters of ANA Air Service Tokyo, a ground handling provider that is a joint venture between ANA and the airport authority.

Airport hotels

NRT has one on-site hotel, the Airport Rest House adjacent to Terminal 1. The hotel is operated by TFK, a company that also provides in-flight catering services from an adjacent flight kitchen facility. A capsule hotel opened adjacent to Terminal 2 in July 2014 in order to serve both transit passengers and passengers on early-morning low-cost carrier flights.[112]

Museums

The Museum of Aeronautical Science is located on the south side of Narita Airport and has a number of aircraft on exhibit, including a NAMC YS-11 and a number of small piston aircraft.

Ground transportation

A corridor in Narita Airport Terminal 1 Station

Rail

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Komaino Junction outside Narita Airport. The tunnel to the left leads to the airport terminal stations; the tunnel to the right leads to Higashi-Narita Station and the Shibayama Railway.
JR Narita Express train
Keisei Skyliner train

Narita Airport has two rail connections, with airport express trains as well as commuter trains running on various routes to Tokyo and beyond. Two operators serve the airport: East Japan Railway Company (JR East), and Keisei Electric Railway. Trains to and from the airport stop at Narita Airport Terminal 1 Station in Terminal 1 and Narita Airport Terminal 2·3 Station in Terminal 2.

JR trains

Further information: Narita Express

Narita Express runs from the airport via the Narita and Sōbu lines to Tokyo Station.[113] The trainsets divide at Tokyo, with one set looping clockwise around central Tokyo to the Shōnan–Shinjuku Line, stopping at Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Ōmiya and/or Takao, while the other set proceeds south to Shinagawa, Yokohama and Ōfuna through the Yokosuka Line. Trains normally run non-stop between Narita Airport and Tokyo, but during rush hours they also stop at Narita, Sakura, Yotsukaidō and Chiba to accommodate commuters.

A rapid service train is the suburban JR service to the airport. It follows the same route to Tokyo Station but makes 15 intermediate stops en route, taking 80 min as opposed to the non-stop 55-min Narita Express. From Tokyo Station, most trains continue through the Yokosuka Line to Ōfuna, Zushi, Yokosuka and Kurihama in Kanagawa Prefecture.

"Green Car" (first class) seats are available on both trains for an additional surcharge, with both services free of charge with the Japan Rail Pass.

Keisei trains

Keisei operates two lines between Narita Airport and central Tokyo. The newer Keisei Narita Airport Line follows an almost straight path across northern Chiba Prefecture, while the older Keisei Main Line passes through the cities of Narita, Sakura and Funabashi. The lines converge at Keisei-Takasago Station in northeast Tokyo and then follow a common right-of-way to Nippori Station and Keisei Ueno Station, both located on the northeast side of the Yamanote Line that loops around central Tokyo.

Keisei operates a number of trains between the airport and Tokyo: Skyliner is the fastest train between the airport and the Yamanote Line.[114] Travel time is 36 min to Nippori and 41 min to Keisei Ueno. Tokyo Station can be reached in 50 min with a transfer to the Yamanote Line. The Skyliner one of the cheapest limited express train options between the airport and Tokyo.

Morningliner and Eveningliner trains respectively operate toward Tokyo in the morning and away from Tokyo in the evening, and make intermediate stops at Keisei Narita, Keisei Sakura, Yachiyodai, Keisei Funabashi and Aoto to accommodate commuters.[115]

Access Express suburban trains run through the Narita Sky Access Line but with intermediate stops en route. A single trip from the airport to Nihombashi Station (on the Toei Asakusa Line) costs ¥1,330. Most Access Express trains run to Haneda Airport via the Toei Asakusa Line and Keikyu Main Line before 5pm, while after that most services run to Nippori and Keisei Ueno.

Limited Express suburban trains run through the Keisei Main Line. These are the cheapest and slowest trains between Narita and central Tokyo, reaching Nippori in 70–75 min and Keisei Ueno in 75–80 min.

All seats are reserved on the express "Liner" services, while the suburban "Express" services use open seating.

Bus

Airport Limousine bus

There are regular bus (limousine) services to the Tokyo City Air Terminal in 55 minutes, and major hotels and railway stations in the greater Tokyo area in 35–120 minutes. These are often slower than the trains because of traffic jams. The chief operator of these services is Airport Transport Service under the "Friendly Airport Limousine" brand. Other operators include Keisei Bus, Chiba Kotsu and Narita Airport Transport.[116]

There is also an overnight bus service to Kyoto and Osaka. Buses also travel to nearby US military bases, including Yokosuka Navy Base and Yokota Air Base.

Taxi

Fixed rate taxi service to Tokyo, Kawasaki, Yokohama, Yokosuka, and Miura is available. Operated by Narita International Airport Taxi Council Members.[117]

The main road link to Narita Airport connects to the Shuto Expressway network at Ichikawa, Chiba.

Helicopter

Mori Building City Air Service offered a helicopter charter service between Narita and the Ark Hills complex in Roppongi, taking 35 minute and costing 280,000 yen each way for up to five passengers; however, the service was discontinued on December 1, 2015.[118]

Transfer to/from Haneda Airport

Haneda Airport is approximately 1.5–2 hours from Narita Airport by rail or bus. By rail, the Keisei Electric Railway runs direct trains between Narita and Haneda in 101 minutes.[119] The Tokyo Monorail runs from Haneda to Hamamatsuchō Station in 15–20 minutes. A short transfer to a JR line train (e.g. Yamanote Line) to Tōkyō Station is required to connect to the Narita Express train to Narita airport.[120] There are also direct buses between the airports operated by Airport Limousine Bus. The journey takes 65–85 minutes or longer depending on traffic.[121]

Accidents and incidents

Current issues

An aerial view of the airport, showing the busy operations that take place on a daily basis
At Narita, simultaneous landing is performed to process busy traffic. Here, an ANA Boeing 767-300ER is landing on the closer runway while a Skymark Airlines Boeing 737-800 lands in the background.

Competitiveness

Complaints over slots and landing fees have plagued the busy airport. Because so many airlines want to use it, the Japanese aviation authorities extend use time for Narita International Airport until midnight, and cut cost by denationalization. In 2004, New Tokyo International Airport Authority (NAA) was privatized and turned into Narita International Airport Corporation (NIAC). Narita's landing fees were once more than double of those of Incheon International Airport (¥195,000 in November 2012), Changi Airport, and Shanghai Pudong International Airport (¥170,000 in November 2012). In 2014, the policy of Open skies was implemented. Airlines can increase or decrease the number of its flights freely, and Narita's landing fees were cut by up to 50%.

LCC service

In October 2010, Narita announced plans to build a new terminal for low-cost carriers (LCCs) and to offer reduced landing fees for new airline service, in an attempt to maintain its competitiveness against Haneda Airport.

In July 2011, ANA and AirAsia announced that they would form a low-cost carrier subsidiary, AirAsia Japan, based at Narita. Later in 2011, JAL and Jetstar Asia announced a similar low-cost joint venture, Jetstar Japan, to be based at Narita. Skymark Airlines opened a domestic base at Narita in November 2011, and by February 2012 was operating 70 departures per week from NRT. Skymark cited the lower fees at NRT as a key reason for this move. Spring Airlines Japan, an LCC partly owned by Spring Airlines, plans to begin service in 2014 with NRT as its primary base.

Narita's restricted hours, congestion and landing fees have caused difficulties for LCCs operating at the airport. On Jetstar Japan's first day of operations in July 2012, a departing flight was delayed on the tarmac for one hour, forcing a cancellation. Less than two weeks later, a departing Jetstar Japan flight from Narita to New Chitose Airport was significantly delayed such that the return flight to Narita using the same aircraft could not arrive before the 11 PM curfew, forcing another cancellation. LCCs at Narita currently use the corner of Terminal 2, which is farthest from Runway A, often requiring a long taxi time.

See also

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