Japan’s Narita airport will extend the operational hours of one of its runways in October 2019 as part of efforts to strengthen the functions of the country’s major international gateway, stated officials.
The extension of the hours for landings and takeoffs, the first time since the airport’s opening in 1978, was finalized after the last town that had opposed the proposal eventually accepted the plan.
The current hours for incoming and outgoing flights – from 6 am to 11 pm – will be prolonged to midnight on the main runway as Tokyo hosts the Olympics and Paralympics in 2020.
“It is inevitable,” said Haruhiko Sato, mayor of Yokoshibahikari. “I will try to explain things to residents in the town.”
With the approval by the town of Yokoshibahikari and the city of Sammu in Chiba Prefecture, all nine surrounding municipalities have agreed with the extension beginning late October. Earlier in December, the town and the city had opposed the extension, citing concerns such as noise. But the operator of the airport later promised it will shoulder part of the necessary costs for noise reduction measures.
The nine municipalities, the infrastructure ministry and Narita International Airport Corp. will soon formally sign an agreement on the extension of the hours for the 4,000-meter runway, according to the officials.
Sammu Mayor Hiroaki Matsushita, who spoke to the press after discussing the issue with assembly members on Friday, said it was a “wrenching decision.”
Besides the plan, the international airport, situated inland, plans to build a third runway in the 2020s.