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Wednesday, 5th November 2014
In Japan Travel News,

Haneda flights to fly over Tokyo

The government is one step closer towards eradicating an unwritten rule about flying large aircraft over the centre of Tokyo City, in a bid to increase traffic to the city's international hub Haneda Airport.

While both Narita and Haneda have always handled international flights, efforts to improve journey times and make traffic more efficient are being stepped up in anticipation of the Olympics, which the Japanese capital will host in 2020.

New plans will mean that planes will be allowed to descend over the wards of Shibuya and Shinagawa, but the government was quick to point out that this would only be permitted under special circumstances.

The new routes would be used only during the afternoon and in southerly winds, and mainly in the summer when demand is high.

Most flights to and from Haneda are required to use an approach over Tokyo Bay, an arrangement made to bypass the airspace in the heart of Tokyo, but analysts believe this restricts the airport to 80 arrivals and departures per hour.

However, state officials have raised concerns about noise pollution, with some pointing out that the aircraft would be flying over Tokyo at an altitude of below 634 metres - lower than the Tokyo Skytree.

The Civil Aviation Bureau dismissed these concerns, claiming that planes have made many advances over the past ten years and that noise is no longer the issue that it once was.

"Engine noise from a state-of-the-art plane would be lower," an official told The Japan News.

"We’re currently seeking detailed information from the national government about possible noise pollution and the safety [of using new routes]," he added.

Tokyo is currently undergoing extraordinary changes in preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games, which will see millions of people flocking to the country to witness the most historic sporting competition in history.


Related news stories:
JR East to improve access to Haneda (15th September 2014)
Tokyo to introduce 2 new subway lines (13th July 2015)