Narita airport to have low-cost terminal by 2015

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Japan's Narita airport has confirmed plans to build a new terminal for low-cost carriers.

Construction of the terminal, which will supplement the airport's existing two terminals, is expected to be completed by 31 March 2015, operator Narita Airport Authority (NAA) said in a statement. The detailed design and other preparatory work will begin in the current fiscal year, which ends on 31 March 2013.

The terminal will be able to handle 7.5 million passengers once the first phase, which will cost yen (Y) 20 billion (245 million), is completed, says Hideharu Miyamoto, a director at the airport's international planning and policy office.

It will have 10-15 parking stands and have an "open concept" without aerobridges, with the passengers walking to the aircraft from the terminal, he adds.

"The actual construction will be carried out in phased steps, taking into consideration the future demand fluctuation, competition between existing airline customers and low-cost carriers, as well as other factors during the course of developing NAA's yearly business plans," says the airport.

Two new low-cost carriers, Jetstar Japan and AirAsia Japan, have announced plans to begin operations out of Narita this summer. They will initially offer domestic services and plan to later add international services. South Korean low-cost carriers Eastar Jet and Air Busan also fly to Narita.

The airport will also increase the number of available slots at the airport to 300,000 a year from 250,000 in 2014, says Miyamoto. All 50,000 of these additional slots will be for low-cost carriers that use the new terminal.

In the interim, the airport plans to construct dedicated low-cost carrier facilities at its Terminal 2 for Jetstar Japan and AirAsia Japan.

"Low-cost carriers do not need as many check-in counters as full service carriers, a lot of baggage services, or a lounge. So we want to help them by setting up separate facilities within the existing terminal while the dedicated terminal is being constructed," he said.