It’s now possible to travel from Narita International Airport to central Tokyo in 20 minutes, instead of the usual one hour. Leading real estate developer Mori Building is offering helicopter transport between the airport and its centrally located Ark Hills complex in the Akasaka/Roppongi area starting in April. The one-way trip costs 500, 000 yen (US$5,100).
Ark Hills has a helipad that has largely been underused.
Minoru Mori, Mori Building president, had been nursing the concept for many years, feeling the commute between Narita Airport and his firm’s headquarters was annoyingly long. (For a tycoon of Mori’s stature as the developer of high-grade buildings such as Roppongi Hills, Shanghai World Financial Center in Pudong and over a hundred prime commercial buildings in Tokyo, one hour – sometimes, two depending on the traffic – is an eternity.)
Helicopter ferry is not new to Tokyo, but most flights use the Tokyo Heliport in Shinkiba in the southeastern part of the city. Ark Hills is right downtown.
“This service is a necessary infrastructure for a global city,” said Yoshimitsu Isoi, executive vice-president of Mori Building Air Services. “Our target customers are those who want to buy time.” Many are presumably foreign business executives arriving on their own private jets.
Initially, the service will make use of rented helicopters until Mori’s new Eurocopter arrives in May. Four passengers can be accommodated, and the 500,000 yen fee applies no matter how many passengers show up.
For more details, visit www.mori.co.jp/en
Margie T Logarta