The transport ministry on Friday began testing new flight paths over central Tokyo for international passenger aircraft bound for Haneda airport, as the major hub looks to boost capacity in time for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
The tests, using a small jet owned by the ministry, are scheduled to continue nearly every day until the end of the year before the routes are opened in late March, ministry officials said.
In the tests that began at around 6:20 a.m. and lasted about 90 minutes, the aircraft descended in a southeasterly direction, passing over Tennozu Isle Station in Shinagawa Ward at an altitude of approximately 300 to 400 meters.
A high-pitched jet engine noise could be heard for a few seconds as the plane passed over the station before the plane continued toward the airport.
Only a portion of the planned trial flights were conducted Friday due to bad weather. The aircraft flew along the southeasterly route twice, descending as it crossed central Tokyo.
The tests are aimed at checking the airport’s operations, including radar and radio communications, to guide aircraft safely toward the runway. Tests using larger aircraft are planned to be carried out from January onward.
Flights to and from Haneda currently fly over Tokyo Bay in order to minimize the impact of aircraft noise over central Tokyo.