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Haneda's fourth runway begins operations

Tokyo Haneda Airport's fourth runway began operations at midnight today, along with a new international passenger terminal.

International charter flights are being operated from the new terminal currently, says an official at the airport. Scheduled international flights will begin at Haneda from 31 October.

Previously, Haneda served mostly domestic flights and a handful of regular charter international flights to regional destinations.

Dozens of carriers have already received rights to begin scheduled international operations from the airport, which is much closer to Tokyo's city centre than Tokyo Narita.

With the opening of the new terminal, Haneda's old international passenger terminal was closed yesterday, says the airport. Reports say it will be demolished to make way for carpark space.

The new runway will allow Haneda to operate an additional 60,000 international flights a year. Japanese authorities plan to increase this 90,000 a year by 2013, say reports.

Haneda, which handles five million international passengers currently, has estimated that it will handle eight million in 2011, and 8.6 million in 2012.

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