NARITA, Chiba Pref. (Kyodo) The operator of Narita International Airport plans to finish extending its 2,180-meter runway as early as October, six months ahead of schedule.

The construction speedup follows the 26-hour closure of the airport’s main, 4,000-meter runway in March after the fatal crash of a FedEx cargo jet, sources said Thursday.

The operator has already started discussions on accelerating the construction schedule with the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, according to the sources.

It aims to use the extended runway to boost overall annual arrival and departure slots to 300,000, an increase of 1.5 times over the current level.

“We are now examining if there will be any problems, such as opposition from neighboring residents, as a result of bringing the schedule forward,” a senior ministry official said. “If we find no problems, we will approve the plan as it will lead to the improvement of airport operations.”

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