Tokyo's Narita Airport plans to increase its capacity by 50% over the next five years to meet demand for international flights at the airport.

In 2014, it will handle 300,000 flights a year, up from 200,000 currently, says an official in the airport's international planning department.

"Narita was nearing its capacity of 200,000 flights a year and was unable to consent to requests for additional flights and access to new airlines waiting to come to Japan from about 40 nations," he adds.

The capacity increase will be phased in gradually. From the summer schedule this year, the number of landing slots will go up to 220,000 annually.

This will increase to 250,000 in 2011, 270,000 in 2012 and 300,000 in 2014, says the official.

"Without the expansion of its capacity, Narita would be unable to meet the continually growing demand in greater Tokyo for international flights," he adds.

Narita's expansion plans come as Tokyo's Haneda Airport prepares for scheduled international flights from this October, when a fourth runway opens.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news