The Japanese government said on Thursday it would increase capacity at Haneda Airport by introducing new international arrival and departure flight routes over central Tokyo in March next to the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The new flight paths, due to open on March 29, will be added to current routes that pass through Tokyo Bay only. The new routes will bring aircraft to Shinjuku and Shinagawa districts.
With the introduction of new routes, the number of departures and arrivals at the airport will increase by up to 39.000 per year from the current 447.000.
"Strengthening the capacity of Haneda Airport is essential in an attempt to accept more foreign visitors to Japan and increase international competition," said Transport Minister Keiichi Ishii.
Prior to the launch of new flight routes, the ministry compiled measures to reduce noise, such as a review of approach landing angle and elevation of flight altitude.
But local governments in the areas under the new flight routes have urged the state to continue efforts to reduce aircraft noise. The ministry said it will maintain open dialogue with local residents to ensure that changes are introduced smoothly.
In the run-up to the launch in March, the ministry will accelerate discussions on how to distribute seats to air carriers.
In late August, the government will use a small aircraft to fly the new routes to check airport facilities. The company expects test flights using a passenger plane to begin in late January.
The ministry unveiled the new flight route plan at 2014. Since then, he has compiled measures to combat noise and objects that could fall from aircraft and conducted briefing sessions with local residents.
On Wednesday, the government held a meeting with local government officials for the first time since 2016. “We think we got the understanding of the locals,” said Ishii.
Gov Yuriko Koike of Tokyo Gov said: "Strengthening the function of Haneda Airport is important to ensure the proper hosting of the Tokyo Olympics."
"We continue to ask (the central government) to take steps to deal with noise and ensure safety, and the metropolitan government will cooperate proactively," Koike said in a statement.