Travelers returning from overseas New Year’s vacations packed major airports Sunday, with 54,000 arrivals expected at Narita airport and 20,000 at Kansai International Airport, immigration and airport authorities said.

The estimated arrivals for the peak day at Narita airport, near Tokyo, is about 12,000 higher than last year when overseas tourism dwindled after the terror attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, according to the New Tokyo International Airport Authority.

At Kansai airport in Osaka Bay the overall number of travelers for the vacation period is estimated to have increased by 8.4 percent, immigration officials said.

According to airport and industry officials, the number of overseas travelers using Narita airport is estimated to have hit a record 1.39 million due to the relatively long nine-day vacation period and more flights and routes on offer since a second runway opened in April.

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