Haneda offers glimpse of international hub

by Kazuaki Nagata

Tokyo’s Haneda airport unveiled a new passenger terminal Monday that will handle international flights once its fourth runway becomes operational Oct. 21.

The new five-story terminal will open the same day.

The airport currently handles a limited number of international flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul and Hong Kong, but once the new facility and runway are up and running, flights farther afield, including to Hawaii, San Francisco, Paris, Bangkok and Singapore, will be added.

Haneda is currently mainly a domestic hub, but with the facility soon to begin more international service, the new terminal will ease transits, said Shigeyuki Taguchi, senior vice president of Tokyo International Air Terminal Corp., which runs the airport.

“It (will be) very easy for passengers to transit from one flight to another between domestic and international,” Taguchi said, noting this convenience is a major feature of the new terminal.

The terminal, with floor space of 154,000 sq. meters, is just across a runway from Terminal No. 1. A station will be built near the new facility so it can be accessed by bus, train and monorail, with travel times from central Tokyo of 15 to 20 minutes.

Taguchi said the airport is structured in a way that passengers will find it easy to get to check-in counters and departure gates once they arrive at the terminal.

An eye-catching characteristic of the new terminal is the fourth-floor shopping arcade resembling an Edo Period (1603-1867) street. The fifth floor meanwhile boasts a planetarium.

Haneda airport has gained in importance since transport minister Seiji Maehara broke a longtime taboo by declaring he wants it to become a 24-hour international hub. The government has long kept Haneda a daytime domestic flight hub, while Narita International Airport has been the international connection.

Haneda daytime operations will focus on flights to and from East Asia, while services between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. will focus on flights to Europe, the U.S. and Southeast Asia.