In order to break away from the prolonged deflation at an early timing and to revitalize the Japanese economy, the government is accelerating its efforts of growth strategy to realize GDB of 600 trillion yen.
While in these efforts, in Japan, we are sliding in to a aging society with fewer children. Therefore, capturing the growth of rapidly developing Asia is vital to speed up implementation of the national growth strategy.
Vision of tourism to support Japan in the coming era . Key measures
With the goal of realizing GDP of 600 trillion yen, in order to capture the growth of Asia, the government has set a fresh agenda for the nation to attract foreign visitors to Japan and increase visitors to 40 million in 2020, and their travel related spending to 8 trillion yen in 2020. The government is now proactively promoting development of an culture welcoming foreign travelers and develop Tourism into one of Japan's key industry.
Expected mission of Narita Airport
Narita Airport, the key gateway of Japan, strongly calls for more capacity enhancement in order to contribute to realization of the goal set by the government.
Trends in the number of Japanese leaving Japan and number of foreign visitors to Japan
Previously at Narita Airport, the number of Japanese going abroad was more than the number of foreign visitors to Japan. Since 2013, however, the number of foreign visitors to Japan started to rise sharply.
While there has been traveling needs for morning departure and late afternoon to evening arrival mainly for the Japan resident market, the traveling needs for early-morning arrival and late-night departure have substantially increased.
Accordingly, we will need to configure more convenient flight schedule settings requested by the airlines in order to respond to the needs of further-increasing foreign visitors to Japan. The current restrictions on night flights limits the scheduling flexibility.
Further growth of LCC at Narita Airport
Although LCCs' share has increased drastically since they went into service in 2012, at Narita further growth is constrained by the night arrival/departure slots being not available to accommodate new flight services and destinations using the night slots.
If extension of the operating hours allows LCCs and other airlines to schedule flights to arrives Narita at night hours or shuttles between Narita and an overseas destination during night time, etc., that will benefit travelers such as by extended stay time to enjoy Japan and higher convenience in international-domestic connection by LCC, which is expected to stimulate further demands and promote Narita Airport to be utilized more as their hub.
Air cargo transportation
It is Narita Airport's strength that international logistic facilities are concentrated around the airport vicinity, allowing the airport to function as a "large scale international logistics center". We believe it is essential to continue making full use of the logistic center functionality toward the achievement of the target of 1 trillion yen for exports of agriculture and marine products set by the government.
However, the current restrictions on night flights limits the potential to enhance the cargo transportation speed and capture more air cargo demands for Narita.
In order to prepare to offer flight schedule to suit the airline business demand in the future, we have made case study on flight schedules that would need time slots at late night and early in the morning based on 500,000 annual traffic movement by hearings with airline companies.
As a result, it was confirmed that making operating hours from 4:00 to 2:00 is ideal to further enhance capacity at Narita Airport without falling behind in the competition with other airports. However, we, as an inland airport, proposed operating hours from 5:00 to 1:00, which will allow us to cover most of aviation needs, at the four-party council meeting held in September 2016.
Unfortunately, we have received very rigorous opinions from local people at explanatory meetings for residents, and Chiba prefectural governor and the liaison council of local governments in areas around Narita Airport have requested twice the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and our company to review the proposal. Under such conditions, the four-party council meeting held in March 2018 reached a final agreement on a proposal that makes operating hours from 5:00 to 0:30, which ensures that quiet hours under the flight routes will be kept at 7 hours.
Since the change of restrictions on night flights will put a heavy strain on the local residents, we have proposed countermeasures against night and early morning flights, such as installation of internal windows in bedrooms and a limit imposed on equipment for flight operations during late-night and early-morning hours, in addition to taking conventional environmental action.
About operational hours
[For the meantime until Runway C comes into service]
Taking environmental countermeasures, such as additional noise control works, at Runway A in advance, we will amend 3-hour-long extension of operating hours and extend current operating hours by one hour to the time period between 6:00 and 0:00. (However, flexible operation* will be implemented for 30 minutes between 0:00 and 0:30.)
These measures will be implemented by Year 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo.
[What to do after Runway C comes into service]
We will put the "sliding operation" system into practice in which different operational hours will be adopted for each runway, and change the entire operational hour to the time period between 5:00 and 0:30 of the airport after ensuring that quiet hours under the flight routes will be kept at 7 hours. (However, flexible operation will be implemented for 30 minutes between 0:30 and 1:00.)
* This is the operation system limited only to those airplanes that are determined to affect normal operating hours due to unavoidable circumstances and thus are allowed to take off from and land on the airport.
Makeshift operation until Runway C comes into service
"Sliding operation" system in which different operational hours will be adopted for each runway
(after Runway C comes into service)
About consideration to be taken for environment
(1) Implementing additional noise control works such as internal windows
To secure sound sleep of each members of households affected by noise, the following countermeasures are implemented:
For any "bedrooms", the internal windows will be installed in each of such rooms of which quantity is as many as the number of family members who are currently living together in a house, and, to maximize the beneficial effect of installation of internal windows to the greatest extent possible, we will perform sound-proof work for walls and ceilings when no such work has been done for them.
Considering the change of restrictions on night flights, additional noise control works such as installation of internal windows will be intensively implemented in advance on the sides of Runway A, and the current noise control zone (excluding the zone that assumes the crosswind runway) will be maintained in terms of protection of people's living environment.
(2) Limit imposed on equipment for flight operations during late-night and early-morning hours
For those airplanes that perform flight operations in the time period from 5:00 to 6:00 and the time period from 23:00 or later where operation hours are to be extended, only the airplanes that produce less noise* are allowed to take off and land.
* The airplanes that conform to the noise index A for airplanes in Narita Airport (B787, B747-8, A380, A320, etc.); B (B777, B767, etc.) and C (B737, etc.)
(1) Acceptance of more foreign visitors to Japan
We will be able to respond to traveling needs for early-morning arrival and late-night departure, convenient for foreign visitors to Japan from Asia that are expected to continue to increase hereafter.
This will result in longer stay in Japan for foreign visitors, which will contribute to increase in inbound passengers.
Extending the time for foreign visitors to stay in Japan is also expected to bring effects such as boosting tourism demand and consumption in areas around the airport.
(2) Creation of more LCC demand
If extension of the operating hours allows LCCs to set a flight schedule where the flight arrives at Narita at night-time or shuttles between Narita and an overseas destination during night-time, etc., that will benefit travelers such as by higher convenience in international-domestic connection by LCC, which is expected to stimulate further demands and promote Narita Airport to be utilized more as their hub.
(3) Capturing of more air cargo volume
As Japan's biggest international logistic airport that leads the economy of metropolitan area, Narita Airport is facing a growing needs for further improvement of convenience.
Change of restrictions on night flights will enhance the cargo transportation speed and make it possible to capture more air cargo demands.
It is also expected to bring positive effects to the related facilities in the airport vicinity, including vitalization of existing logistic facilities, concentration of new industries, and development of distribution centers.