3 Narita International Airport

Narita International Airport

Narita International Airport
Narita Kokusai Kūkō
Narita International Airport Logo.svg
Airport type Public
Operator Narita International Airport Corporation (NAA)
Serves Tokyo
Location Narita, Chiba, Japan
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 135 ft / 41 m
Coordinates 35°45′55″N 140°23′08″E / 35.76528°N 140.38556°E / 35.76528; 140.38556Coordinates: 35°45′55″N 140°23′08″E / 35.76528°N 140.38556°E / 35.76528; 140.38556
Website www.narita-airport.jp
NRT is located in Japan
Location in Japan
Direction Length Surface
m ft
16R/34L[1] 4,000 13,123 Asphalt
16L/34RA 2,500 8,202 Asphalt
Statistics (2007/2009)
Passengers (2009) 29,186,494
Total cargo (metric tonnes) 2,099,349 (2,008)
Sources: Japanese AIP at AIS Japan[2]
Passengers and cargo from ACI[3][4]
:A.^ Extended from 2,180 m (7,152 ft) in fall 2009.

Narita International Airport (成田国際空港 Narita Kokusai Kūkō?) (IATA: NRTICAO: RJAA) is an international airport serving the Greater Tokyo Area of Japan. It is located 57.5 km (35.7 mi) east of Tokyo Station and 7 km (4.3 mi) east-southeast of Narita Station[2] in the city of Narita, and the adjacent town of Shibayama.

Narita handles the majority of international passenger traffic to and from Japan, and is also a major connecting point for air traffic between Asia and the Americas. The airport handled 35,478,146 passengers in 2007.[3] It is the second-busiest passenger airport in Japan,[3] busiest air freight hub in Japan,[4] and ninth-busiest air freight hub in the world.[4] It serves as the main international hub of Japan's flag carrier Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways and Nippon Cargo Airlines. It also serves as an Asian hub for Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. Under Japanese law, it is classified as a first class airport.

The airport was known as New Tokyo International Airport (新東京国際空港 Shin-Tōkyō Kokusai Kūkō) until 2004, but was commonly called "Tokyo Narita" even before it was officially renamed to differentiate it from Tokyo International Airport, commonly called "Tokyo Haneda."




Protest outside Narita City Hall in 1968.
Steel tower built by protesters adjacent to Narita Airport.
The guard wall and towers surrounding Narita Airport can be clearly seen from aircraft landing at the airport.

By the early 1960s, Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) was quickly becoming overcrowded. Its location on Tokyo Bay made further expansion difficult, as a large amount of new land would have to be created in order to build more runways and terminals. While this strategy was used for later airport projects in Japan (such as Kansai International Airport), the government believed that landfill in the bay would be too costly and difficult, and would hinder the development of the Port of Tokyo. Haneda also suffered from airspace restrictions due to its central location and proximity to US airbases, so the government feared that further expansion of Haneda would lead to overcrowding in the sky.

In 1962, the Japanese government began investigating possible alternatives to Haneda, and proposed a "New Tokyo International Airport" to take over Haneda's international flights. The rapid postwar growth of Tokyo caused a shortage of available flat land in the Kantō region, so the only viable location for the airport was in rural Chiba Prefecture. Initially, surveyors proposed placing the airport in the village of Tomisato; however, the site was moved 5 km northeast to the villages of Sanrizuka and Shibayama, where the Imperial Household had a large farming estate. This development plan was made public in 1966.

At the time, the socialist movement still possessed considerable strength in Japan, evidenced by the large-scale student riots in Tokyo in 1960.[5] Many in the "new left" such as Chukaku-ha opposed the construction of Narita Airport, reasoning that the real purpose for the new airport was to promote capitalism and to provide additional facilities for US military aircraft in the event of war with the Soviet Union. These individuals sought to ally with the more conservative local farmers who simply did not want to give up their land for the airport.[6]

Around 1966, a group of local residents combined with student activists and left-wing political parties formed a popular resistance group known as the Sanrizuka-Shibayama Union to Oppose the Airport (三里塚・芝山連合空港反対同盟 Sanrizuka-Shibayama Rengo Kūkō Hantai Dōmei?), which remained active until fracturing in 1983.[6] Similar strategies had already been employed during the postwar era to block the expansion of Tachikawa Air Base and other US military facilities in Japan.[6] In June and July 1966, the Union sent formal protests to the mayor of Narita, the governor and vice-governor of Chiba Prefecture and the prefectural office of the Liberal Democratic Party.[6] In November 1967, when the Transport Ministry began surveying the perimeter of the airport, Union members set up roadblocks. The Zengakuren radical student union then began sending students to Narita to help the local farmers.[6]

Eminent domain power had rarely been used in Japan up to that point. Traditionally, the Japanese government would offer to relocate homeowners in regions slated for expropriation, rather than condemn their property and pay compensation as provided by law. In the case of Narita Airport, this type of cooperative expropriation did not occur: some residents went as far as using terror by threatening to burn down new homes of anyone who would voluntarily move out.

Under the 1966 plan, the airport would have been completed in 1971, but due to the ongoing resettlement disputes, not all of the land for the airport was available by then. Finally, in 1971, the Japanese government began forcibly expropriating land. 291 protesters were arrested and more than 1,000 police, villagers and student militants were injured in a series of riots, notably on 16 September 1971 when three policemen were killed in a riot involving thousands. Some protesters chained themselves to their homes and refused to leave.

Takenaka Corporation constructed the first terminal building, which was completed in 1972. The first runway took several more years due to constant fights with the Union and sympathizers, who occupied several pieces of land necessary to complete the runway and temporarily built large towers in the runway's path.[5] The runway was completed and the airport scheduled to open on March 30, 1978, but this plan was disrupted when, on March 26, 1978, a group armed with Molotov cocktails drove into the airport in a burning car, broke into the control tower and destroyed much of its equipment, causing approx. $500,000 in damages and delaying the opening by another two months, to May 20, 1978.[7]

Although the airport did open, it opened under a level of security unprecedented in Japan. The airfield was surrounded by opaque metal fencing and overlooked by guard towers staffed with riot police. 14,000 security police were present at the airport's opening and were met by 6,000 protesters; a Japanese newscaster remarked at the time that "Narita resembles nothing so much as Saigon Airport during the Vietnam War."[8] Protestors attacked police on the opening day with rocks and firebombs while police responded with water cannon; on the other side of Tokyo, a separate group of protestors claimed responsibility for cutting the power supply to an air traffic control facility at Tokorozawa, which shut down most air traffic in the Tokyo area for several hours.[7]

The Diet of Japan passed a special statute, the Emergency Measures Act Relating to the Preservation of Security at New Tokyo International Airport (新東京国際空港の安全確保に関する緊急措置法?), specifically banning the construction and use of buildings for violent and coercive purposes relating to the new airport.[9] Passengers arriving at the airport were subject to baggage and travel document searches before even entering the terminal, in an attempt to keep anti-airport activists and terrorists out of the facility.[citation needed]

The conflicts at Narita were a major factor in the decision to build Kansai International Airport in Osaka offshore on reclaimed land, instead of again trying to expropriate land in heavily populated areas.[10]

Japan's flag carrier, Japan Airlines moved its main international hub from Haneda to Narita, and Northwest and Pan American also moved their Asian regional hubs from Haneda to Narita. Pan American sold its Pacific Division, including its Narita hub, to United Airlines in February 1986.[11] All Nippon Airways began scheduled international flights from Narita to Guam in 1986.[12]

Expansion and increased capacity

Terminal 2 control tower and people mover

New Tokyo International Airport was originally envisioned to have five runways, but the initial protests in 1965 led to a down-scaling of the plan to three runways: two parallel northwest/southeast runways 4,000 m (13,123 ft)[1] in length and an intersecting northeast/southwest runway 3,200 m (10,499 ft) in length. Upon the airport's opening in 1978, only one of the parallel runways was completed (16R/34L, also known as "Runway A"); the other two runways were delayed to avoid aggravating the already tense situation surrounding the airport. The original plan also called for a high-speed rail line, the Narita Shinkansen, to connect the airport to central Tokyo, but this project was also cancelled with only some of the necessary land obtained.[6]

By 1986, the strengthening Japanese yen was causing a surge of foreign business and leisure travel from Japan, which made Narita's capacity shortage more apparent. However, eight families continued to own slightly less than 53 acres (21 ha) of land on the site which would need to be expropriated in order to complete the other two runways. Although the government could legally force a sale of the land, it elected not to do so in order "because of fears of more violence."[13] By 1992, Narita was handling 22 million passengers a year, despite only having a design capacity of 13 million.[14]

Terminal 2 and B runway

Plan of the airport

On November 26, 1986, the airport authority began work on Phase II, a new terminal and runway north of the airport's original main runway.[citation needed] To avoid the problems that plagued the first phase, the Minister of Transport promised in 1991 that the expansion would not involve expropriation.[citation needed] Residents in surrounding regions were compensated for the increased noise-pollution with home upgrades and soundproofing.[citation needed]

A second passenger terminal opened in December 1992 at a cost of $1.36 billion. The new terminal had approximately 1.5 times the space of the older terminal, but its anti-congestion benefits were delayed because of the need to close and renovate much of the older terminal. The airport's land situation also meant that the taxiway to the new terminal was one-way for much of its length, and that taxi times between the terminal and runway were up to 30 minutes.[14]

The B runway (16L/34R) opened on April 17, 2002, in time for the World Cup events held in Japan and Korea that year. However, its final length of 2,180 m (7,152 ft), much shorter than its original plan length of 2,500 m (8,202 ft), left it too short to accommodate Boeing 747s.[15] The runway was further impeded by a three-story concrete building in the path of its taxiway, which the Union had constructed in 1966, forcing the taxiway to bend inward toward the runway. This imposed restrictions on the number of aircraft that could use the runway, since it was impossible for an aircraft to safely pass through the curve in the taxiway while another aircraft was using the runway.[16]

The new runway opened up additional slots, particularly for carriers from other Asian countries, who were favored disproportionately over American and European incumbents. In particular, Taiwan flag carriers China Airlines and EVA Air were granted slots upon opening of the new runway and were able to move their Tokyo operations to Narita from Haneda Airport, where they had been operating since the opening of Narita in order to avoid frustrating Japanese relations with the People's Republic of China.[17]

Runway B's limitations were made particularly apparent following the 2009 crash of FedEx Express Flight 80, which shut down Runway A and forced some heavy aircraft to divert to other airports. The runway was extended to its full length of 2,500 metres (8,202 ft) on October 22, 2009,[18] allowing an additional 20,000 flights per year.[19]

In 2008, the Supreme Court of Japan ruled in favor of the airport authority regarding ownership of the Union-occupied land in the path of the taxiway, allowing the taxiway to be modified to provide enough room for safe passing by March 2011.[16] The building remained in place until August 2011, when authorities removed it under an order by the Chiba District Court which had been upheld by the Tokyo High Court in May. 500 police officers were dispatched to provide security for the operation while 30 airport opponents protested.[20]

Under the airport's master plan, the third "C runway" would be a 3,200 metres (10,499 ft) cross runway south of the passenger terminals. Although NAA controls most of the property needed for its construction, certain small portions remain blocked by small plots of land held by airport protestors, and portions near the South Wing of Terminal 1 are currently used for aircraft parking. Use of the runway would also require noise abatement negotiations with the municipalities to the northeast and southwest of the airport, including the city of Yachimata which would lie directly beneath the southbound flight path from the runway. Due to these issues, the construction of the C runway has been put on hold indefinitely.[21]

Beginning on 20 October 2011, the airport was approved to allow simultaneous landings and take-offs from the A and B runways. The approval allowed the airport to increase annual take offs from 220,000 to 235,000 and increase hourly departure capacity from 32 to 46. The parallel runways are 2.5 km apart.[22]

Transit upgrades

Railway routes between Tokyo and NRT. Narita Express of JR is in gray. New Skyliner route is in purple. The Keisei Main Line is in green.

Since its construction, Narita has been criticized for its distance from central Tokyo—an hour by the fastest train, and often longer by road due to traffic jams. Narita's distance is even more problematic for residents and businesses in west Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture, both of which are much closer to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport).

Through the end of the 1980s, Narita Airport's train station was located fairly far from the terminal, and passengers faced either a long walk or a bus ride (at an additional charge and subject to random security screenings). Transport Minister Shintaro Ishihara, now governor of Tokyo, pressed airport train operators JR and Keisei Railway to connect their lines directly to the airport's terminals, and opened up the underground station that would have accommodated the Shinkansen for regular train service. Direct train service to Terminal 1 began on March 19, 1991, and the old Narita Airport Station was renamed Higashi-Narita Station.[citation needed]

The Narita Rapid Railway opened on July 17, 2010 and shaved 20 minutes off the travel time. The line's new Skyliner express trains with a maximum speed of 160 km/h are scheduled between Tokyo's Nippori Station and Airport Terminal 2 Station in 36 minutes, which compares favourably with other major airports worldwide. A new expressway, the North Chiba Road, is also under construction along the Narita Rapid Railway corridor. Improvements such as the Wangan Expressway also shaved off travel time to Kanagawa Prefecture by bypassing Tokyo.

The Japanese government has also invested in several local infrastructure projects in order to address the demands of airport neighbors. The largest of these is the Shibayama Railway, a short railway connection between the Keisei Main Line and the area immediately east of Narita Airport. This line opened in 2002 with government and NAA support after extensive demands from Shibayama residents, and provides a direct rail link from Shibayama to Narita City, Chiba City and central Tokyo. Another such project is the Museum of Aeronautical Sciences in Shibayama Town, which draws tourists and student groups to the area.[23]


In 2003, a Narita International Airport Corporation Act (成田国際空港株式会社法?) was passed to provide for the privatization of the airport. As part of this change, on April 1, 2004, New Tokyo International Airport was officially renamed Narita International Airport, reflecting its popular designation since its opening. The airport was also moved from government control to the authority of a new Narita International Airport Corporation.[24]

Notable accidents and incidents

  • On January 30, 1979, after an exhibition in Tokyo, 153 of Manabu Mabe's paintings were on board of a Varig cargo Boeing 707-323C registration PP-VLU en route from Narita International Airport to Rio de Janeiro-Galeão via Los Angeles. The aircraft went missing over the Pacific Ocean some 30 minutes (200 km ENE) from Tokyo. Causes are unknown since the wreck was never found. The paintings were lost.[25]
  • 1985: On June 22, a piece of luggage exploded while being transferred to Air India Flight 301, killing two baggage handlers. The luggage had originated at Vancouver International Airport. Fifty-five minutes later, another piece of luggage, also originating from Vancouver, exploded on Air India Flight 182, killing all onboard.
  • In the late 1980s, the Union to Oppose the Airport constructed two steel towers, 30.8 metres (101 ft) and 62.3 metres (204 ft) respectively, blocking the northbound approach path to the main runway. In January 1990, the Chiba District Court ordered the towers dismantled without compensation to the Union; the Supreme Court of Japan upheld this verdict as constitutional in 1993.[26]
  • 1987: Chukaku-ha, a radical organization, carried out a simultaneous overnight bombing of the offices of five companies in the Greater Tokyo Area involved in the Phase II expansion of Narita Airport.[27]
  • 1994: On December 11, Philippine Airlines Flight 434 was en route from Cebu to Narita when a bomb on board exploded, killing a passenger. The airliner was able to make an emergency landing in Okinawa. Authorities later found out that the bomb was a test run for the Project Bojinka plot, which targeted several U.S. airliners departing Narita on January 21, 1995 as part of its first phase.[28]
  • 1997: United Airlines Flight 826 experienced severe turbulence after leaving Narita en-route for Honolulu. Due to injuries sustained by passengers, the aircraft made an emergency landing at Narita. One woman on the flight died of her injuries.[29]
  • January 31, 2001: Japan Airlines Flight 958, bound for Narita from Gimhae International Airport in Busan, nearly collided with another Japan Airlines aircraft, due to a mistake by an air traffic controller. The other aircraft, a Boeing 747, dove suddenly and narrowly avoided the Narita-bound DC-10.[30] See: 2001 Japan Airlines mid-air incident
  • 2001: In May, Kim Jong-nam, the son of North Korean President Kim Jong-il, was arrested at Narita Airport for traveling with a counterfeit passport, and was deported to the People's Republic of China.[31]
  • January 27, 2003: All Nippon Airways Flight 908 (operated by Air Japan), an Boeing 767 aircraft from Incheon International Airport, Korea, overshot on Runway 16L/34R after landing. Was closed for an overnight due to necessary investigations and repairs. This was the first such incident of overrunning at Narita and overnight closed to occur at the airport since its opening in 1978.[32]
  • 2004: On July 13, Bobby Fischer was detained at Narita Airport for using an invalid U.S. passport while trying to board a Japan Airlines flight to Manila. He left Japan a year later after obtaining asylum in Iceland.[33]
  • 2009: On March 23, FedEx Express Flight 80, an MD-11 aircraft from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, China, crashed on Runway 16R/34L during landing, killing both the pilot and co-pilot. Runway 16R/34L, which is required for long-distance flights and heavier aircraft, was closed for a full day due to necessary investigations, repairs and removal of wreckage. This was the first fatal airplane crash to occur at the airport since its opening in 1978.[34]
  • 2009-2010: From November 4, 2009 to February 3, 2010, Chinese human rights defendant Feng Zhenghu remained near the immigration checkpoint in the south wing of Terminal 1, after having been refused re-entry into China.[35]

Current issues

An aerial view of the airport, showing the busy operations that takes place on a daily basis


Arguments over slots and landing fees have plagued the busy airport. Because so many airlines want to use it, the Japanese aviation authorities have limited the number of flights each airline can operate from this airport, making the airport expensive for both airlines and their passengers.

Although the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has given Narita a monopoly on international air service to the Tokyo region, that monopoly has been gradually weakening. Haneda has had limited international service for some time, beginning with flights to Taiwan and later replaced by flights to Gimpo Airport in Seoul, and Hongqiao Airport in Shanghai. Following the construction of Haneda's Runway D in 2009, the government aims to transfer other international services to Haneda in order to relieve Narita's congestion and expansion problems. The Ministry of Transport continues to investigate the possibility of building a new reliever airport on an artificial island in Tokyo Bay or off the Kujukuri coast of Chiba Prefecture.[36] Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara has proposed redeveloping Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo as a civil airport.

Hyakuri Airfield (Ibaraki Airport), opened on March 11, 2010, may relieve traffic for domestic passengers destined to/from Ibaraki and Tochigi Prefectures, and potentially those in Gunma. Technically, the runway there is large enough for jumbo jets. Shizuoka Airport, opened June 2009, may take away Numazu-Fuji area passengers that would otherwise come to Narita.


Narita Airport is the first Japanese airport to house millimeter wave scanners. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced in March 2010 that trials would be carried out at Narita from July 5 through September 10, 2010. Five types of machines are to be tested sequentially outside the Terminal 1 South Wing security checkpoint; the subjects are Japanese nationals who volunteer for trial screening, as well as airport security staff during hours when the checkpoint is closed.[37]

Terminals, airlines, and destinations

Narita Airport has two separate terminals with separate underground train stations. Connection between the terminals is by shuttle bus (buses are available both inside and outside the security area. Buses inside the security is only for connecting passengers) and trains; there is no pedestrian connection.


Terminal 1

Exterior of the Terminal 1 building with the Central Building and North Wing visible.

Terminal 1 uses a satellite terminal design. The landside of the terminal is divided into a North Wing (北ウイング kita-uingu?), Central Building (中央ビル chūō-biru?), and South Wing (南ウイング minami-uingu?). Two circular satellites, Satellites 1 (gates 11–18) and 2 (gates 21–24), are connected to the North Wing, Satellite 3 (gates 26–38) is a linear concourse connected to the Central Building, Check-in is processed on the fourth floor, and departures and immigration control are on the third floor. Arriving passengers clear immigration on the second floor, then claim their baggage and clear customs on the first floor. Most shops and restaurants are located on the fourth floor of the Central Building. The South Wing includes a duty free mall called "Narita Nakamise"[dead link], the largest airport duty-free brand boutique mall in Japan.

North Wing

The North Wing is dominated by SkyTeam carriers including Delta Air Lines which moved from Terminal 2 in 2007, shortly after a reciprocal move by Oneworld carriers American Airlines and Cathay Pacific.[38] Virgin Atlantic and Aircalin are the only non-SkyTeam carriers operating from the North Wing. Continental Airlines relocated to the South Wing on November 1, 2009 after joining Star Alliance.[39] British Airways moved its operations to Terminal 2 on 31 October 2010 in order to ease connections with Oneworld partner Japan Airlines.[40]

South Wing

The South Wing and Satellite 5 opened in June 2006 as a terminal for Star Alliance carriers. Today, all Star Alliance members use this wing, except for Air New Zealand and Egypt Air, which currently use Terminal 2. The following are non-Star Alliance members: EVA Air, MIAT, Uzbekistan Airways, Vladivostok, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways. The South Wing has seven stories, and the first floor contains facilities for domestic flights by ANA.[41] It is the first airport terminal in Japan to offer curbside check-in service and baggage reconnecting facilities for passengers connecting from international to domestic flights.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 Departure lobby
Terminal 2 "Gobangai" arcade

Terminal 2 is divided into a main building (honkan) and satellite, both of which are designed around linear concourses. The two are connected by the Terminal 2 Shuttle System, which was designed by Japan Otis Elevator and was the first cable-driven people mover in Japan.

Check-in and departures and Immigration control for arriving passengers is on the second floor, and baggage claim and customs are on the first floor.

For domestic flights, three gates (65, 66, and 67) in the main building are connected to both the main departures concourse and to a separate domestic check-in facility. Passengers connecting between domestic and international flights must exit the gate area, walk to the other check-in area, and then check in for their connecting flight.

Japan Airlines is currently the main operator in T2; several Oneworld carriers which used to be in T1 moved their operations to T2 in early 2007 so as to ease connections to and from flights operated by oneworld partner Japan Airlines. Air New Zealand (Star Alliance carrier), China Airlines (SkyTeam carrier), China Eastern Airlines (SkyTeam carrier), China Southern Airlines (SkyTeam carrier), and Emirates are the only non Oneworld carriers operating from Terminal 2. Vietnam Airlines moved its operations from T2 to Terminal 1 North on 30 October 2011 with all other SkyTeam members.

Airlines and destinations

Terminal 2 Shuttle System used to transport passengers to satellite concourses in Terminal 2
Shuttle Bus
Two twin-engine airliners on parallel taxiways.
Japan Airlines Boeing 777 Star Jet and "Arc of the Sun" livery aircraft
Airlines Destinations Terminal/
Aeroflot Moscow-Sheremetyevo 1 North
Aeroméxico1 Mexico City 1 North
Air Busan Busan 1 South
Air Canada Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver
Seasonal: Calgary
1 South
Air China Beijing-Capital, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Shanghai-Pudong, Wuhan 1 South
Air France Paris-Charles de Gaulle 1 North
Air India Delhi 2
Air Macau Macau 2
Air New Zealand Auckland
Seasonal: Christchurch
Air Niugini Port Moresby 2
Air Tahiti Nui Papeete 2
Aircalin Nouméa 1 North
Alitalia Milan-Malpensa, Rome-Fiumicino 1 North
American Airlines Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, New York-JFK 2
All Nippon Airways Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Beijing-Capital, Chicago-O'Hare, Frankfurt, Hangzhou, Jakarta-Soekarno-Hatta, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Manila, Munich, Naha, New York-JFK, Osaka-Itami, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Qingdao, San Francisco, Sapporo-Chitose, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai-Pudong, Shenyang, Singapore, Washington-Dulles 1 South
ANA operated by Air Central Nagoya-Centrair, Sendai 1 South
ANA operated by Air Japan Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Dalian, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Singapore, Taipei-Taoyuan 1 South
ANA operated by Air Nippon Chengdu, Fukuoka, Guangzhou, Mumbai, Osaka-Itami, Xiamen 1 South
ANA operated by Ibex Airlines Hiroshima, Komatsu, Sendai 1 South
Asiana Airlines Seoul-Incheon 1 South
Austrian Airlines Vienna 1 South
British Airways London-Heathrow 2
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong, Taipei-Taoyuan 2
China Airlines Honolulu, Kaohsiung, Taipei-Taoyuan 2
China Eastern Airlines Beijing-Capital, Nanjing, Shanghai-Pudong, Xi'an 2
China Southern Airlines Changchun, Dalian, Guangzhou, Shenyang 2
Continental Airlines3 Guam, Hong Kong, Houston-Intercontinental, Newark 1 South
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Beijing-Capital, Busan, Detroit, Guam, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Manila, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK, Portland (OR), Saipan, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai-Pudong, Singapore, Taipei-Taoyuan
Seasonal: Koror, Salt Lake City
1 North
Eastar Jet Seoul-Incheon 2
Edelweiss Air Seasonal: Zurich [begins 26 March 2012] 1 South
Emirates Dubai 2
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi 1 South
EVA Air Taipei-Taoyuan 1 South
Finnair Helsinki 2
Garuda Indonesia Denpasar/Bali, Jakarta-Soekarno-Hatta 2
Hong Kong Airlines Hong Kong 2
Japan Airlines Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Beijing-Capital, Boston [begins 22 April 2012],[42] Busan, Chicago-O'Hare, Dalian, Delhi, Frankfurt, Fukuoka, Guam, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta-Soekarno-Hatta, Kaohsiung, Kuala Lumpur, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Manila, Moscow-Domodedovo, Nagoya-Centrair, New York-JFK, Osaka-Itami, Osaka-Kansai, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Sapporo-Chitose, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai-Pudong, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei-Taoyuan, Vancouver 2
Japan Airlines operated by JAL Express Fukuoka, Nagoya-Centrair, Osaka-Itami 2
Japan Airlines operated by Japan Transocean Air Naha 2
Jetstar Airways Cairns, Gold Coast 2
KLM Amsterdam 1 North
Korean Air Busan, Jeju, Los Angeles, Seoul-Incheon 1 North
Lufthansa Düsseldorf [begins 1 June 2012][43], Frankfurt, Munich 1 South
Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur 2
MIAT Mongolian Airlines Ulan Bator 1 South
Pakistan International Airlines Beijing-Capital, Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore 2
Philippine Airlines Cebu, Manila 2
Qantas Sydney 2
Qatar Airways2 Doha 1 South
Scandinavian Airlines Copenhagen 1 South
Shenzhen Airlines Fuzhou 1 South
Skymark Airlines Asahikawa, Okinawa [begins 8 December] 2
Singapore Airlines Los Angeles, Singapore 1 South
SriLankan Airlines Colombo, Malé 2
Swiss International Air Lines Zürich 1 South
Thai Airways International Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Phuket 1 South
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk 1 South
United Airlines Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Chicago-O'Hare, Guam, Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, Seoul-Incheon, Singapore, Taipei-Taoyuan, Washington-Dulles 1 South
Uzbekistan Airways Tashkent 1 South
Vietnam Airlines Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City
Charter: Da Nang
1 North
Virgin Atlantic Airways London-Heathrow 1 North
Vladivostok Air Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk
Seasonal: Khabarovsk, Vladivostok
Seasonal Charter: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky[44]
1 South

^1 Aeroméxico's flight from Mexico City to Narita stops in Tijuana, but the flight from Narita to Mexico City is nonstop.

^2 Qatar Airways's flight from Narita to Doha stops in Osaka. However, Qatar Airways does not have rights to transport passengers solely from Narita to Osaka.

^3 Continental operates a flight to Ho Chi Minh City from Narita only for passengers making connections to and from the United States. It is does not have traffic rights to transport passengers solely on this route.

Cargo service

Because of the large volume of foreign fish (especially tuna) imported by air for use in sushi restaurants, Narita Airport is the eighth-largest fishing port in Japan by tonnage.

Airlines Destinations
Aeroflot-Cargo Moscow-Sheremetyevo
AirBridgeCargo Airlines Amsterdam,[45] Moscow-Sheremetyevo
Air France Cargo Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Air Hong Kong Hong Kong
Atlas Air
Cargo Garuda Indonesia Jakarta-Soekarno-Hatta
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong
China Cargo Airlines Shanghai-Pudong
Emirates SkyCargo Dubai [46]
FedEx Express Anchorage, Guangzhou, Memphis, Oakland
Hong Kong Airlines Cargo Hong Kong
KLM Cargo Amsterdam
Korean Air Cargo Seoul-Incheon
Lufthansa Cargo Frankfurt am Main
MASkargo Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor Bahru
Nippon Cargo Airlines Amsterdam, Anchorage, Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Beijing-Capital, Chicago-O'Hare, Guadalajara, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Nagoya-Centrair, New York-JFK, Milan-Malpensa, Osaka-Kansai, San Francisco, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai-Pudong, Tianjin [begins 30 October][47]
Polar Air Cargo
Singapore Airlines Cargo Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi,[48] Singapore
Southern Air Anchorage, Chicago-O'Hare, Seoul-Incheon
UPS Airlines Clark, Louisville, Ontario, Shanghai-Pudong
Yanda Airlines Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi

Helicopter service

Narita Heli Express operates charter flights between Narita, Tokyo Heliport, Saitama-Kawajima Heliport and Gunma Heliport from a dedicated helipad with connecting shuttle service to the two terminals.

Other facilities

Japan Airlines Narita Operation Center, the former headquarters of JALways

Japan Airlines operates the Japan Airlines Narita Operation Center (日本航空成田オペレーションセンター Nihon Kōkū Narita Operēshon Sentā?) at Narita Airport. The subsidiary airline JALways had its headquarters in the building.[49] All Nippon Airways also has a dedicated "Sky Center" operations building adjacent to Terminal 1, which serves as the headquarters of ANA Air Service Tokyo, a ground handling provider which is a joint venture between ANA and the airport authority.

NRT has one on-site hotel, the Airport Rest House adjacent to Terminal 1. The hotel is operated by TFK, a company which also provides in-flight catering services from an adjacent flight kitchen facility.

The Museum of Aeronautical Sciences (航空科学博物館) is located on the south side of Narita Airport and has a number of aircraft on exhibit, including a NAMC YS-11 and a number of small piston aircraft.

Ground transportation


Komaino Junction outside Narita Airport. The tunnel to the left leads to the airport terminal stations; the tunnel to the right leads to Higashi-Narita Station and the Shibayama Railway.
JR Narita Express train
Keisei Skyliner train

Narita Airport has plenty of rail connections, with airport express trains as well as commuter trains running on various routes to Tokyo and beyond. Two operators serve the airport: East Japan Railway Company (JR East), and Keisei Electric Railway. Trains to and from the airport stop at Narita Airport Station (成田空港駅 Narita-kūkō-eki) in Terminal 1 and Airport Terminal 2 Station (空港第2ビル駅 Kūkō-daini-biru-eki) in Terminal 2.

JR trains

Narita Express runs from the airport via the Narita and Sōbu lines to Tokyo Station. The trainsets divide at Tokyo, with one set looping clockwise around central Tokyo to the Saikyō Line, stopping at Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Ōmiya and/or Takao, while the other set proceeds south to Shinagawa, Yokohama and Ōfuna through the Yokosuka Line. Trains normally run non-stop between Narita Airport and Tokyo, but during rush hours they also stop at Narita, Yotsukaidō and Chiba to accommodate commuters. The daytime non-stop service takes 55 min from the airport to Tokyo. A single trip from the airport to Tokyo Station costs ¥2940, while a trip to more distant stops costs up to ¥4500. All seating is reserved.

Airport Narita is the suburban JR service to the airport. It follows the same route to Tokyo Station but makes 15 intermediate stops en route, taking 80 min as opposed to the non-stop 55-min Narita Express. From Tokyo Station, most trains continue through the Yokosuka Line to Ōfuna, Zushi, Yokosuka and Kurihama in Kanagawa Prefecture. A single trip to Tokyo Station on this route costs ¥1280.

"Green Car" (first class) seats are available on both trains for an additional surcharge.

Keisei trains

Keisei operates two lines between Narita Airport and central Tokyo. The newer Narita Sky Access Line follows an almost straight path across northern Chiba Prefecture, while the older Keisei Main Line passes through the cities of Narita, Sakura and Funabashi. The lines converge at Keisei-Takasago Station in northeast Tokyo and then follow a common right-of-way to Nippori Station and Keisei Ueno Station, both located on the northeast side of the Yamanote Line that loops around central Tokyo.

Keisei operates a number of trains between the airport and Tokyo:

  • Skyliner is the fastest train between the airport and the Yamanote Line. Travel time is 35 min to Nippori and 40 min to Keisei Ueno. Tokyo Station can be reached in 50 min with a transfer to the Yamanote Line. The Skyliner fare is ¥2,400.
  • City Liner is the name given to the older Skyliner service which existed prior to the opening of the Sky Access Line. It operates through the less direct Keisei Main Line and makes intermediate stops in Narita and Funabashi. The fare is ¥1,920.
  • Morning Liner and Evening Liner trains are City Liner trains that respectively operate toward Tokyo in the morning and away from Tokyo in the evening, with additional stops at Aoto, Sakura and Yachiyodai to accommodate commuters. The fare is ¥1,400.
  • Access Express suburban trains run through the Sky Access Line but make many station stops along the way. The fare is ¥1,200. Certain Access Express trains operate as through services on the Toei Asakusa Line and Keikyu Main Line, terminating at Haneda Airport or at Misakiguchi Station in southern Kanagawa.
  • Limited Express suburban trains run through the Keisei Main Line. These are the cheapest and slowest trains between Narita and central Tokyo, reaching Nippori in 70-75 min and Keisei Ueno in 75-80 min. The fare is ¥1,000.

All seats are reserved on the express "Liner" services, while the suburban "Express" services use open seating.


Airport Limousine bus

There are regular bus services to the Tokyo City Air Terminal in 55 minutes, and major hotels and railway stations in the Greater Tokyo Area in 35–120 minutes. These are often slower than the trains because of traffic jams. The chief operator of these services is Airport Transport Service under the "Friendly Airport Limousine" brand. Other operators include Keisei Bus, Chiba Kotsu and Narita Kuko Kotsu.[50]

There is also overnight bus service to Kyoto and Osaka. Buses also travel to nearby US military bases, including Yokosuka Navy Base and Yokota Air Base.


Fixed rate taxi service to Tokyo, Kawasaki, Yokohama, Yokosuka, Miura is available. 14,000 yen – 40,300 yen (expressway tolls 2,250 yen – 2,850 yen are not included in the fixed fare, and need to be paid as a surcharge). Operated by Narita International Airport Taxi Council Members.[51]

The main road link to Narita Airport is the Higashi-Kanto Expressway, which connects to the Shuto Expressway network at Funabashi, Chiba.


Helicopter service from Narita to Ark Hills building complex in near Roppongi in 35 minutes. 37,500 yen (roundtrip) – 45,000 yen (one way) per one person. Operated by Mori Building City Air Service[52] Several airlines include a helicopter transfer as a courtesy for long-haul first class and business class passengers.

Cultural references

  • Narita Airport was mentioned in an episode of Death Note in which Light's father departs from on a hijacked 747 that lands in the desert of the United States.
  • Narita Airport was the setting of a Japanese television drama Stewardess Story which is about Japan Air Lines crews life and mainly tells a cabin attendant life, starred by Chiemi Hori, Morio Kazama.
  • Narita Airport was mentioned in the 1987 film Too Much, starring Bridgette Andersen
  • Narita Airport was the setting of a Japanese television drama Good Luck!! which is about All Nippon Airways crews life and mainly tells a co-pilot life, starred by Takuya Kimura, Shinichi Tsutsumi, and Kou Shibasaki.
  • Narita Airport is one of the airports featured in Air Traffic Controller by TechnoBrain.
  • Narita Airport is depicted in "Returning Japanese", an episode of American sitcom King of the Hill.
  • Narita Airport is the namesake of the song "Welcome to Narita" by Textual.
  • In Japanese, the term "Narita divorce" (成田離婚 Narita rikon?) is often used to refer to divorces that immediately follow a married couple's honeymoon, since many married couples return to Japan through Narita after honeymoons in foreign countries. The phrase was used as the title of a popular television drama in Japan.
  • Canadian country singer Aaron Lines song, "I Haven't Even Heard You Cry" includes a voice welcoming passengers to the airport.

See also


  1. ^ a b Narita's 4,000-metre (13,123 ft) main runway shares the record for longest runway in Japan with one at Kansai International Airport that opened in 2007.
  2. ^ a b AIS Japan
  3. ^ a b c ACI passenger statistics for 2007
  4. ^ a b c ACI cargo statistics for 2008
  5. ^ a b Duncan McCargo, Contemporary Japan, pp. 152-155 (Google link)
  6. ^ a b c d e f David Apter and Nagayo Sawa, Against the State: Politics and Social Protest in Japan (Google link)
  7. ^ a b Fighting Rages over Tokyo Airport[dead link], Nashua Telegraph, May 20, 1978.
  8. ^ Japan: Open But Still Embattled, TIME, June 5, 1978.
  9. ^ 成田国際空港の安全確保に関する緊急措置法 (昭和五十三年五月十三日法律第四十二号)
  10. ^ Japan to Open Costly But Convenient Airport, New York Times, August 21, 1994.
  11. ^ " United taking Pacific routes of Pan American, Miami News, Feb. 11, 1986.
  12. ^ All Nippon Airways Decides to Go High Profile Japanese Carrier Kicks Off Major Campaign in U.S., Los Angeles Times, Dec 7, 1987
  13. ^ Narita Journal; An Airport Is Being Strangled by Relentless Foes, New York Times, September 26, 1989.
  14. ^ a b New $1.36 Billion Terminal Is No Cure-All: Tokyo's Troubled Airport, New York Times, December 3, 1992.
  15. ^ Japan opens second runway ahead of World Cup finals, ABC News, April 17, 2002.
  16. ^ a b 航空機誘導路の制限撤廃 成田空港「への字」改修 発着回数増可能に, Sankei Shimbun, March 9, 2011
  17. ^ Switch in Japan could hurt CAL, Bloomberg, April 18, 2002.
  18. ^ [1]; Kyodo News, "Runway extension at Narita finally opens", Japan Times, October 23, 2009.
  19. ^ Narita airport — worth long struggle to build?, The Japan Times, June 9, 2009.
  20. ^ 成田空港内の団結小屋、強制撤去に着手, Yomiuri Shimbun, August 6, 2011
  21. ^ http://www.page.sannet.ne.jp/km_iwata/yatimata.html
  22. ^ Jiji Press, "Narita runways OK'd for concurrent use", Japan Times, 26 August 2011, p. 6.
  23. ^ 地域振興, Narita Airport Authority
  24. ^ 成田国際空港株式会社法
  25. ^ Varig Accident Description on Aviation Safety Database [2] Retrieved on October 16, 2009.
  26. ^ 最高裁(大法廷)平成4年7月1日判決 (Japanese Wikipedia article on verdict)
  27. ^ Radicals bomb airport offices, AP, March 15, 1987.
  28. ^ Echoes of Early Design to Use Chemicals to Blow Up Airliners, New York Times, August 11, 2006.
  29. ^ Aircraft Accident Investigation: United Airlines flight 826, Pacific Ocean, NTSB, December 28, 1997.
  30. ^ Close Call For JAL Jets, CBS News, January 31, 2001.
  31. ^ "Death of Kim's consort: Dynastic implications" (2 September 2004). Retrieved on 28 October 2008.
  32. ^ Today's Information[dead link]
  33. ^ Bobby Fischer: ich bin ein Icelander!. March 21, 2005.
  34. ^ "Cargo plane crashes on landing at Tokyo airport" (23 March 2009). Retrieved on 23 March 2009.[dead link]
  35. ^ "China activist in for long haul at Tokyo airport" (10 December 2009). Retrieved on 10 December 2009.
  36. ^ 首都圏第3空港 鉄道アクセスの再検討 (第7回首都圏第3空港調査検討会, 2002).
  37. ^ 成田国際空港におけるボディスキャナー実証実験の実施について
  38. ^ NARITA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – What's new: Information on Relocation of Continental Airlines, Continental Micronesia Airlines and Delta Air Lines. http://www.narita-airport.jp/en/whats_new/iten_02/index.html
  39. ^ Continental Airlines
  40. ^ British Airways News - Latest BA News
  41. ^ http://www.naa.jp/en/annual/2004_pdf/15.pdf
  42. ^ May 27, 2011 Japan Airlines to Launch Nonstop Service between Tokyo and Boston in 2012
  43. ^ http://presse.lufthansa.com/en/news-releases/singleview/archive/2011/october/14/article/2017.html
  44. ^ ウラジオストク航空
  45. ^ [3][dead link]
  46. ^ EK routemap
  47. ^ http://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/All-Nippon-Airways-ANA-To-afxcnf-2189634479.html?x=0
  48. ^ SIA Cargo Starts Freighter Services to Tokyo Narita via Bangkok and Taipei | The Manila Bulletin Newspaper Online
  49. ^ "Company Profile." JALways. Retrieved on December 12, 2009. "Registered Office 4-11, Higashi-Shinagawa 2-chome,Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, Japan Head Office Japan Airlines Narita Operation Center 3F, Narita International Airport, Narita, Chiba,Japan 282-8610" Japanese address: Registered office: "本店所在地 東京都品川区東品川2丁目4番11号" Headquarters: 〒282-8610 千葉県成田市成田国際空港内 日本航空成田オペレーションセンター3階."
  50. ^ Buses & Taxis to Narita Airport
  51. ^ JNTO
  52. ^ Mori Building City Air Service

External links

Travel guides

Historical and political

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