Airspace agreement set to open up more Tokyo Haneda slots

Aviation

A tentative agreement to allow civilian aircraft through US-controlled airspace around Tokyo could allow for more slots to be opened up at Haneda International airport.

Japan’s deputy chief cabinet secretary Kotaro Nogami told reporters during a press conference that an “in-principle agreement was made” with the United States on 29 January that will allow civilian movements through airspace controlled by its Yokota air base.

“Enhancing Haneda’s capability is essential to reach the goal of welcoming 40 million tourists. The government will continue to work to realise that plan,” he added.

New air routes through the previously restricted airspace are expected to be developed during the northern summer, with new services and airport slots expected to be launched in spring.

That will allow for Haneda to handle some of the expected surge in arrivals due to Tokyo hosting the 2020 Olympic games.

Haneda has become increasingly popular with foreign carriers owing to its proximity to downtown Tokyo, compared to the more distant Narita International airport. That has made slots at the airport a valuable bargaining tool for the Japanese government during recent bilateral negotiations, although they remain limited.

FlightGlobal schedules data shows that over 21,000 flights have been scheduled through Haneda in January 2019, linking it to 82 worldwide destinations.