Narita airport aims for higher low-cost traffic

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Japan's Narita airport is targeting to triple the amount of traffic brought in by low-cost carriers over the next two years.

At present, about 8% of the traffic at the Tokyo airport is attributed to low-cost operators, and the aim is to bring the figure to 25% or more over the next two years, says the airport's senior executive advisor Kosaburo Morinaka in an interview with Flightglobal Pro.

To facilitate that, the airport plans to build a dedicated low-cost terminal, the construction of which is due to be completed by March 2015. The new terminal will be able to handle 7.5 million passengers and around 50,000 aircraft movements annually.

"The LCCs, they are asking us to lower the cost. The present terminals were built for full-service carriers, and the LCCs are saying some of the facilities, sometimes it's not necessary," explains Morinaka.

Narita is one of the world's most expensive airports for airlines to operate out of. Its high landing and parking charges, coupled with slots constraints and a night curfew, do not make the most conducive operating environment for budget carriers.

AirAsia Japan and Jetstar Japan are two low-cost carriers based at Narita.

Recently, AirAsia has also said that it is considering to dissolve its joint venture with All Nippon Airways (ANA) in AirAsia Japan because of "a difference of opinion in management, most critically on points of how to operate a low-cost business and operating from Narita".

ANA however insists that its strategy is to have a LCC based out of Narita, because it believes more LCCs will fly to Narita, and it wants to have the first mover advantage.