After 26 years, Narita sees its 500 millionth passenger

Kyodo

The number of travelers who have used Narita airport topped 500 million on Monday, 26 years after it opened, the airport operator said.

Masahiko Tsukada, 61, who was departing on a 1 p.m. flight for Frankfurt, became the 500 millionth passenger and was presented with a Japanese doll at a ceremony commemorating the occasion.

“Five hundred million is an enormous number,” he said. “I hope Narita will continue to be an energetic airport.”

Narita International Airport Corp. said it took nine years and 10 months for the airport to record its first 100 million visitors in March 1988.

But with an increase in overseas travel and the opening of a second runway, the number jumped from 400 million in February 2001 to 500 million in just three years and seven months.

The busiest year was fiscal 2002, when 29.99 million people passed through.