The government will boost the flight capacity of Haneda airport on Oct. 1 by giving domestic carriers 14 daily departure and arrival slots to meet increasing demand, the transport ministry said Monday.

Haneda is used primarily for domestic flights. Five of the new slots will be allocated to startup carriers, two to Japan Airlines Corp. and three to All Nippon Airways Co.

The remaining four will be used for chartered flights to Kimpo airport in Seoul.

“The allocation was made from the standpoint of boosting competition and securing a diversified domestic network,” the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry said.

Giving one less slot to JAL than ANA was explained by the ministry as having to do with several safety problems that have plagued the nation’s biggest carrier in recent months.

The transport ministry can increase capacity by trimming the time each plane spends at the airport. This will raise arrivals per hour from 29 to 30, ministry officials said.

Haneda airport has the highest passenger traffic in the domestic network, handling 60 percent of the volume in Japan, and demand for flights is increasing.

Because flights in and out of the capital are cash cows, domestic airlines are desperate to expand their networks from Haneda. For example, JAL said each slot at the airport brings in 2 billion yen a year.

The carriers are waiting for Haneda’s fourth runway to open in 2009. The new runway will allow the airport to increase capacity by about 43 percent to 407,000 departures and arrivals.

The transport ministry said Monday it plans to seek 162.6 billion yen in the fiscal 2006 budget for Haneda expansion, including building the fourth runway, up about 100 billion yen from the fiscal 2005 budget.

It will carry out a full-fledged landfill in the next fiscal year and start building a new control tower that will be more than 100 meters high, ministry officials said.

Information from Kyodo added

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