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A chartered All Nippon Airways jetliner will depart Tokyo’s Haneda airport today for Hawaii, becoming the first international chartered flight to depart from the airport in 20 years.

Haneda has been used exclusively for domestic services since 1978, when the New Tokyo International Airport at Narita opened and assumed all international flights.

A group of residents in Tokyo’s Ota Ward who hope to promote international exchange chartered the flight to attend a festival in Honolulu. The Transport Ministry approved the chartered flight as an exception, considering the group’s desire to leave from their own community, which hosts the Haneda airport, ministry officials said.

The ministry allows special flight exceptions on Haneda’s domestic-only status for state guests and international flights by Taiwan’s China Airlines.

China Airlines cannot use Narita airport due to diplomatic restrictions brought about by the lack of formal relations with Taiwan.

Haneda airport started round-the-clock operations in March 1997, enabling the ANA charter to depart from and return to Haneda at night.

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