Narita expands to cater for cheap carriers

Japan is serious about welcoming discount carriers to its airspace. Its biggest airport, Tokyo’s Narita, will build a terminal targeting low-cost airlines by 2015. 
The facility will be built north of Terminal 2 and will accept international low-cost carrier flights at Terminal 2 in the meantime, state-owned Narita International Airport Corporation announced.
Domestic flights would be accepted at a temporary facility near Terminal 2, it said. 
Narita, which opened Tokyo’s first dedicated business-jet terminal last week, is adding capacity to lure airlines as it competes with airports in Seoul, Beijing and Hong Kong, where landing fees are about half the price or less. 
Narita charges $US5632 in landing fees and other costs for handling an Airbus SAS A320 with a three-hour turnaround, according to IATA data. Seoul’s Incheon costs $US2983, Beijing charges $US2149 and Hong Kong is $US1807. 
Narita, which is about 70 km from downtown Tokyo, is also competing with Haneda  international airport, which is much closer to the city and also adding capacity after opening a new runway in 2010. 
Narita last month boosted total annual capacity to 250,000 takeoffs and landings a year from 235,000. That will rise to 270,000 by the end of March 2013, president Kosaburo Morinaka said last month. 
The Narita expansion comes as two low-cost airlines plan to start operations there soon.
Jetstar Japan is ahead of schedule for its takeoff after the Japanese regulator last week issued an air operators certificate, which approves policies and procedures in areas such as cabin services, ground operations, engineering and customer service. It allowed the airline to bring forward its launch to July 3. 
“This approval means we’re on track to start flying five months ahead of schedule, making it easier for people in Tokyo, Okinawa, Osaka, Sapporo and Fukuoka to connect,” Jetstar Japan chief executive Miyuki Suzuki said.
Jetstar Japan is backed by Japan Airlines and the Qantas subsidiary. Other shareholders include Mitsubishi and Century Tokyo Leasing.
It will start with 24 aircraft but aims to expand this to 100 by the end of the decade.  It is targeting ¥100 billion ($1.5 billion) in annual sales within a few years. 
Meanwhile, AirAsia Japan, a venture between All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Malaysia’s AirAsia, is due to start flights from Narita in August. It has predicted 10 million passengers annually in five years.

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