travel

High hopes for Haneda's new international terminal

27 Comments
By Chris Betros

When Haneda Airport’s new international terminal and fourth runway opens on Oct 21, government officials hope this will be the first step toward Japan having a 24-hour airport hub to compete with other Asian airports. Amid the current recession, the stakes are enormous for airlines, travel agencies, regional industries and even Narita Airport.

Japan Airport Terminal Co (JATC), which operates Haneda airport, says it expects some 7 million passengers per year to use the new terminal, whose construction began in May 2008. Some 90,000 slots a year have been allocated to international flights. JATC is forecasting the number of international passengers to grow from 5 million in fiscal 2010 to 8 million in fiscal 2011 and to 8.6 million the following year. To date, the only international flights from Haneda have been short-distance hops to South Korea, China and Hong Kong, but by next year, flights from the airport will be operating to 49 domestic cities and 15 cities.

During a recent “open house” ahead of the opening, JATC officials were out in force, showcasing the new terminal which is located only 15 kilometers from the heart of Tokyo. The five-story building has 74 shops and restaurants in areas accessible to all visitors and 31 stores in the security area for passengers who have completed embarkation procedures. It also features a planetarium and a section with interior design and replicas of stores recreating the Edo period (1603-1867) on the upper floors.

Utilizing the 10 aircraft parking bays, more than a dozen airlines will start regular international flights from Oct 31, with new slots linking Tokyo with several overseas cities, including Taipei, Bangkok, Singapore, Honolulu, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Paris. In November, a service will start to Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia), and in January, flights will commence to Vancouver, New York and Detroit. Daytime operations (classified as those between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.) will center on flights between Haneda and destinations in China, South Korea and the rest of East Asia, while night-time operations (10 p.m. to 7 a.m.) will accommodate flights to Europe, the U.S. and some other Asian destinations.

Getting to Haneda will certainly be a lot easier than heading out to Narita, if you live in Tokyo. Keihin Electric Express Railway Co (Keikyu) has a service to a new station located adjacent the terminal, as does Tokyo Monorail Co which will transport passengers from Hamamatsucho Station in 15 minutes. To help visitors, Keikyu has a tourist information booth at its station for the airport's international terminal building with concierges skilled in English, Chinese and Korean. Tourists can purchase train tickets. East Japan Railway Co (JR East) will open a similar information office, while Ota Ward has an information booth.

Since early summer, travel agencies have been promoting campaigns, advertising cheap weekend fares to Asian destinations, from where the bulk of passengers to the new international terminal are expected to come. JTB is selling package tours to 22 overseas cities, including one to the U.S. West Coast that allows passengers to fly between Haneda and other domestic airports for 1,000 yen per round trip. The biggest demand is coming for tours that leave late at night on a Friday and return to Haneda by early Monday morning, thus allowing quick weekend getaways to places such as Taiwan, Bali, South Korea and China.

JAL, ANA favored with time slots

Japanese airlines ANA and JAL, and low-cost carriers such as Malaysia’s AirAsia X, are certainly in the best position to take advantage of the new international terminal. JAL will operate seven daily flights to six international destinations - Paris, San Francisco, Honolulu, Bangkok, Taipei's Songshan airport and Singapore. That is in addition to its current daily flights from Haneda to Seoul (Gimpo), Shanghai (Hongqiao), Beijing and Hong Kong. Counting the new international routes and an increase in one daily flight to Gimpo this autumn, JAL will be operating a total of 10 international routes with 12 daily flights. JAL President and CEO Masaru Onishi told a news conference: “With JAL's extensive domestic operations at the hub, passengers can make smooth connections from our new international flights to many other destinations in Japan.”

Rival ANA will start flying from Haneda to Los Angeles, Honolulu, Singapore, Bangkok, and Taipei (Songshan). ANA officials said they are counting on the airline's fast connections to its domestic network. The carrier is also planning to establish a low-cost carrier by the end of this year with a plan to start serving customers in the second half of fiscal 2011 through March 2012.

Meanwhile, some of the new entrants in the market have high hopes for Haneda. In September, Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia X announced with much fanfare a service connecting Kuala Lumpur and Haneda from Dec 9. A special campaign is offering tickets for 5,000 yen if they are booked before Oct 31. After the campaign, tickets will cost from 10,000 yen to 22,000 yen for economy class. “This day has been a long time coming; we have been planning our entry of service into the Japanese market for well over two years,” AirAsia X Chief Executive Officer Azran Osman-Rani told a press conference. “We want to make travel more affordable for the broader population in Malaysia who can visit the huge diverse culture of Japan and we equally wish to extend to the Japanese to come visit us, to our exotic islands.”

Another new entrant is Hawaiian Airlines which begins a service from Honolulu to Haneda on Nov 17. Its outbound flight will depart Haneda daily at 11:59 p.m. and arrive at Honolulu International Airport at 12:05 p.m. the same day. It leaves Honolulu daily at 6:05 p.m., arriving at Haneda at 10:05 p.m. the next night. Initially, Hawaiian will use a Boeing 767-300ER aircraft seating up to 264 passengers before introducing its larger 294-seat Airbus A330-200 aircraft onto the route. The airline is counting on Japanese customers taking the late-night flight after a full day’s work.

Among other Asian carriers, Singapore Airlines will fly twice daily from Haneda to Changi airport from Nov 1, in addition to its current two daily flights to Narita. On the same day, Thai Airways launches a daily flight to Bangkok. Taiwan-based Eva Airways, Malaysian Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways all have services planned.

However, the European and U.S. carriers (other than Hawaiian) face the biggest challenges because of the 10 p.m.-7 a.m. time slots. For example, American (to and from LA) and Delta (Detroit, LA) have to keep their planes on the tarmac at Haneda for several hours after their arrival during the early morning (with exorbitant parking fees), whereas ideally, they would like to turn their aircraft around as quickly as possible and get them in the air again. They can't schedule flights from Haneda before 7 a.m. because passengers don't like early-morning flights, nor is it convenient for connecting flights from other Japanese cities. British Airways’ five-times-a-week service to Haneda, that begins on Feb 19, 2011, will depart from London Heathrow at 8 a.m. and arrive at Haneda at 5 a.m. Its planes, too, must stay on the ground at Haneda all day before a late-night departure.

How will Narita be affected?

One big question is how Haneda’s new international terminal will affect Narita. Last year, then Transport Minister Seiji Maehara said he hoped to see Tokyo's Haneda airport become a 24-hour Asian hub, whereby more flights on their way to Asian destinations would use Haneda instead of Narita.

Maehara ruffled a lot of feathers with that remark, which he apparently made off the cuff and not as a matter of policy. Maehara said that having Haneda as a hub airport would bolster Japan’s competitiveness because it is lagging behind others as airline and airport competition heats up on a global scale. He cites as an example South Korea’s Incheon airport, which has three runways for international arrivals and departures and has overtaken Narita in terms of the number of planes in service and the volume of cargo handled.

But in terms of international capacity, Haneda -- with its 90,000 international slots a year -- can’t compete with Narita which currently has 220,000 slots and plans to expand that figure to 300,000 by the start of fiscal 2014. Haneda airport officials said the late-night flights to Asia will draw some passengers away from Narita. For example, if you’re flying to South Korea, why take two or three hours to get out to Narita for a two-hour flight when you can get to Haneda in 15 minutes?

In July, a new high-speed railway line, Narita Sky Access, was launched, linking central Tokyo with Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture in 36 minutes. The Skyliner train, operated by Keisei Electric Railway Co, runs at 160 kilometers per hour, and cuts the minimum travel time between Nippori Station in Tokyo and Narita by 15 minutes to 36 minutes. There are 54 services a day to and from Narita, with a one-way ticket costing 2,400 yen for an adult.

Meanwhile, taking advantage of the opening of the new international terminal, the Tokyo Tourism Promotion Center will hold a special welcome campaign from Oct 21-Nov 20, by distributing 10,000 welcome kits and surveys to foreign travelers using the new international terminal. Those who answer the survey will receive a present.

© Japan Today

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.


27 Comments
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Wish they were flying to London from Haneda :(

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For example, if you’re flying to South Korea, why take two or three hours to get out to Narita for a two-hour flight when you can get to Haneda in 15 minutes?<

If we want to make a fair comparison, from central Tokyo Haneda would be 15 minutes by train and Narita would one hour by train.

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@kirakira25: Did you miss this sentence..."British Airways’ five-times-a-week service to Haneda, that begins on Feb 19, 2011, will depart from London Heathrow at 8 a.m. and arrive at Haneda at 5 a.m."?

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Looking at the train timetables, from Shinjuku to Haneda seems to take about 40 minutes, whereas Shinjuku to Narita looks like 70-80 minutes. I wonder how the Haneda airport officials can claim it takes "two or three hours to get out to Narita" whereas "you can get to Haneda in 15 minutes".

I've travelled from Sendai to Narita in less than three hours using the new Keisei line. Maybe I can save 20 minutes going to Haneda, but it's not a huge difference. For me, the deciding factors will be price (Haneda's landing fees are even higher than Narita's) and convenience.

As an example, let's look at BA's Haneda-London flight. It leaves Haneda late at night, which means I can avoid staying in a hotel at Narita, so that's good. But if it leaves Haneda at midnight it will arrive in London at 4 am and I'll be stuck there for hours; no-one will come and pick me up at that time and there will be no trains. On the way back I'd have to be at Heathrow by 6 am, which means staying in a hotel near Heathrow the night before (expensive). Then I'd get to Haneda at 5 am and have to hang around for a while until the trains started running.

That all sounds too inconvenient to me and I'll probably stick with Narita until they come to their senses and allow international flights from Haneda to depart during the day. If they really want to compete with other Asian hubs they will have to do this eventually, so why not do it now?

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Looking at the train timetables, from Shinjuku to Haneda seems to take about 40 minutes, whereas Shinjuku to Narita looks like 70-80 minutes. I wonder how the Haneda airport officials can claim it takes "two or three hours to get out to Narita" whereas "you can get to Haneda in 15 minutes".

Might be because there is only one Narita express every half hour or so from Shinjuku for much of the day whereas getting from Shinjuku to Haneda likely involves the Yamanote line where there is a train every 5 minutes.

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first step toward Japan having a 24-hour airport hub

Trains?

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The BA flight from February is a complete joke. Departing Heathrow at 8am will mean a 6am check-in, which in turn means waking up in London at around 5am that morning to catch your flight. You then arrive in Narita at around 5 in the morning, after a 12 hour flight, with not much sleep, and having to keep awake for the whole day if you want to skip the jetlag.

We were all complaining about the journey from Narita after a longhaul flight, but considering the ridiculous alternative it wasn't so bad after all. I'll stick with Finnair's Helsinki to Narita and spend a day or two in Helsinki along the way without additional charges.

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What? No Middle-East connections?

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if you’re flying to South Korea, why take two or three hours to get out to Narita for a two-hour flight when you can get to Haneda in 15 minutes?

Whoever wrote this ridiculous statement is either on the payroll of the new Haneda International, or the actual president himself. The Narita Express from the heart of Tokyo at Tokyo station takes what ? Just over an hour ? The only way to get to Haneda in 15 minutes is if you are actually sitting on the monrail (the express one) as it pulls out of Hamamatsucho station, which is not as convenient as Tokyo station.

In July, a new high-speed railway line, Narita Sky Access, was launched, linking central Tokyo with Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture in 36 minutes.

Do they think people are that stupid ? Anyone who has ever lived in Tokyo or visited Nippori will know that it is not central Tokyo. The main Tokyo station on this line is Ueno (longer than the 36 minutes to Nippori) and that is North-East Tokyo, not central Tokyo.

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Narita Sky Access, was launched, linking central Tokyo with Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture in 36 minutes.

It is from Nippori and Ueno which is Tokyo but on the other side of Tokyo. What's the point with this new train when it takes close to 1 hour to get to Nippori? Why can't Keisei make this train available from more central parts of Tokyo? The Keisei line merges into Asakusa Line. And goes to Yokohama.

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Actually, it does take me a long time to get to Narita. From my home to the TCAT terminal it takes about 30 minutes, then it is about an hour by bus. I prefer the bus because I don't have to tote a heavy suitcase. I imagine that for other people, who live further away, say in Yokohama, or in outlying suburbs, it probably does take a few hours to reach Narita. In fact, I know some people who have to take a half day off work just to catch an evening flight from Narita.

On the other hand, it would only take me 10 minutes to get to Hamamatsucho by taxi, so the commuting time difference is significant for me.

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People here seem to have forgotten that you can get to Haneda by Keikyu as well. Since this past spring, there are trains that go from Shinagawa to Haneda directly with no stops at all.

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@Scrote: I wasn't aware that the Keisei line went all the way to Sendai now. Wow! (lol)

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smartacus, most people do not live 10 minutes by cab from Hamamatsucho. Even me. And I live in central Tokyo. For you Haneda is the best option, but when these people start quoting comparison travel times they need to be more honest and take into account the average traveller. Not those who live 10 minutes by taxi from the monorail and then compare them with the Narita journey from Yokohama. Narita from Tokyo should state a journey of just over an hour from Tokyo station. Haneda should state 20 minutes from Hamamatsucho monorail terminal.

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People here seem to have forgotten that you can get to Haneda by Keikyu as well. Since this past spring, there are trains that go from Shinagawa to Haneda directly with no stops at all.

Right. It's Keikyu to Asakusa to Keisei. Technically speaking this Keisei/Keikyu train to Narita could go from Shinagawa as well directly to Narita.

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Getting to Haneda will certainly be a lot easier than heading out to Narita, if you live in Tokyo. Keihin Electric Express Railway Co (Keikyu) has a service to a new station located adjacent the terminal, as does Tokyo Monorail Co which will transport passengers from Hamamatsucho Station in 15 minutes. To help visitors, Keikyu has a tourist information booth at its station for the airport’s international terminal building with concierges skilled in English, Chinese and Korean. Tourists can purchase train tickets. East Japan Railway Co (JR East) will open a similar information office, while Ota Ward has an information booth.

Right, now how do I get to Haneda by rail for the 3am check for my 5am flight? I can't - he only option will be cab or bus as the trains don't run from midnight to 5am.

It is from Nippori and Ueno which is Tokyo but on the other side of Tokyo. What's the point with this new train when it takes close to 1 hour to get to Nippori? Why can't Keisei make this train available from more central parts of Tokyo? The Keisei line merges into Asakusa Line. And goes to Yokohama.

The Toei Asakusa Line is not only congested and already at capacity, but takes a circuitous route through central Tokyo. It is not feasible at this stage to run the new SkyLiner through it. On weekends however, the Kaisoku SkyAccess trains do run through from Narita to Haneda, skipping stops based on the Limited Stop pattern.

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Im looking forward to flying internationally from Haneda and ditching Narita. On a point of correction about this article, though. The new "Skyliner" service to Narita is not all its cracked up to be. I used it in September, and it took over an hour between Narita and Nippori. I was So disappointed. Only some of the services are fast, and as usual, it doesnt begin departures from Narita until after 8am. Totally useless.

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Kawachi: I meant that I take the Shinkansen from Sendai to Ueno and the Skyliner from there to Narita. It can be done in just under three hours on a good day. Maybe I can get to Haneda 30 minutes quicker, but when you're flying half way around the world it's neither here nor there.

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I often read comments here on JT about the wasteful spending used to build airports and I agree. Especially with Hanada! Now it sounds like many of you want an airport in your backyard.

Just another waste of tax payer yen.

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I used it in September, and it took over an hour between Narita and Nippori.

Try paying extra for the direct train next time. Otherwise you can't expect your train to miss every single station between Ueno and the airport.

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I don't get it.. if BA doesn't want to have their plane sitting on tarmac all day, why don't they just have a later (night time) departure from heathrow?

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The new timeslots to/from HK are very unfriendly. Definitely a step backwards. The only consolation is most airlines are charging a small nominal fee to fly from Haneda and back into Narita.

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@nisegaijin. There is a waiting list as long as the proverbial arm for late night slots departing Heathrow. It was that schedule or nothing. I agree its FAR from ideal but my money is on it being a 7-day service by the end of next October and high load factors, especially as they are flying a four class 777-200 These have small economy section. The=y are focusing on the business market. Note that they are retaining their 747 service on the Narita route.

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Haneda is an ideal landing place, but who wants to arrive at friggin 10/11pm? Good luck getting trains and stuff! Until the landing times are better, I will stick with Narita

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Agreed - but all depends where you live also. Price of Narita Express ticket and then taxi from station might equal your cab fare from Haneda - if someone is on business I'm sure their company will be more than happy to pick up their 5-7000 yen cab bill as will anybody living in Ota/Minato/Meguro/Shinagawa/Shibuya. I am sure you will see taxi companies offering flat rates to Haneda as they do to Narita. Of course for English Teachers living in Ikebukuro and beyond then fair enough, I guess you will be going to Narita. I think Haneda is going to be EXTREMELY successful. It seems everybody on this forum was VERY happy to complain about Narita, we now have an alternative and it is still not good enough.

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I'm looking forward to using Haneda more, with the in-laws only 1 station from Kawasaki :P

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I live near Haneda. How convenient... hey... wait a minute what about air quality? What about noise pollution? Uh, oh. No more making fun of people living underneath the train tracks.

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