Tokyo’s Narita International Airport has been cleared to develop a third runway as well as extend its operating hours.
The decision follows agreements between the operator of the airport, Narita International Airport Corporation (NIAC), and the Chiba Prefectural Government, local municipalities and the transport ministry.
According to the Japan Times, the timeline for the 3,500-metre-long third runway is currently in the 2020s, though the airport’s second 2,500-metre-long runway is also set to get extended by 1,000 metres by 2020. The airport’s primary runway is 4,000 metres long.
Meanwhile, the airport’s operating hours are set to extend by 2.5 hours, enabling it to raise the number of annual take off and landing slots from 300,000 to 500,000.
Flights will be able to take off and land from 5am rather than the current 6am, and until 12.30am rather than 11pm.
This is the first time the airport has had its operating hours extended since it opened in 1978.
The decision to extend and expand operations at Narita airport come as the government seeks to attract some 40 million overseas visitors annually by 2020 when the city plays host to the Olympic and Paralympic games.
Narita Airport itself has been taking steps to enhance the experience of foreign travellers. Last year, the airport collaborated with Wamazing Inc to offer free SIM cards to travellers upon arrival along with a Wamazing app that provides assistance with communication, transportations and recommendations during their visit.