Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The transport ministry said Thursday that it will open new flight routes over central Tokyo on March 29 to increase the number of flights using Haneda Airport.
By strengthening the airport’s capacity for international flights, the Japanese government aims to raise the annual number of foreign visitors to Japan to 40 million by 2020, when the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held.
Airplanes using Haneda have flown over Tokyo Bay, while the new routes will pass above the Shibuya, Shinjuku and Shinagawa districts in central Tokyo.
With the addition of the new routes, the annual number of international flight arrivals and departures at Haneda is expected to increase from the current 60,000 or so to about 99,000.
Related governments including the Tokyo metropolitan government have raised concerns over noise and falling objects linked to the new flight routes.
In response, the ministry has worked out plans to enhance measures against falling objects, while setting higher altitudes for descending airplanes. It has also held meetings with local residents multiple times to seek their support for the new routes.
On Wednesday, the local government side broadly accepted the new routes.
At a press conference on Thursday, transport minister Keiichi Ishii said, “It is essential to boost the functions of Haneda airport in order to accept more foreign visitors.”