The Transport Ministry and New Tokyo International Airport Authority have submitted a concrete plan to build a second runway at the congested Narita airport in Chiba Prefecture.

The proposal was submitted Wednesday to the governor of Chiba Prefecture and the vice governor of Ibaraki Prefecture, and the ministry plans to hold an explanatory meeting Friday for heads of 18 municipal governments in the area near the airport.

The plan follows the basic principle proposed to the local community in December 1996, marking an important step in the airport expansion project, which has been halted due to fierce opposition from landowners in the area and their supporters.

The plan to build the 2,500-meter runway includes flight routes — one of the major concerns of local residents facing noise pollution — and the results of an environmental assessment. Both the flight routes and assessment were first presented to the local community.

If the runway opens, the ministry estimates that together with the current runway, the airport can handle 220,000 landings and takeoffs a year. The current runway handles 125,000 landings and takeoffs a year. The ministry plans to complete construction in fiscal 2000.

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