Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Narita opens Tokyo's LCC gateway: Terminal 3.

On April 8th, Tokyo/Narita [NRT/RJAA] officially opened LCC-dedicated Terminal 3, its first new terminal since the inauguration of Terminal 2 on December 6th, 1992. Five airlines moved to the brand-new, 66,000-square meter facility: Jeju Air [7C/JJA], Jetstar Airways [JQ/JST], Jetstar Japan [GK/JJP], Spring Airlines Japan [IJ/SJO], and Vanilla Air [JW/VNL]. It is capable of handling 7.5 million domestic and international passengers per year.

Narita's official mascot Ku-tan and airport staff welcome the first passengers to Terminal 3 as it opened at 0330 JST on April 8th. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

The 24-hour terminal houses over 20 restaurant and shops, most of which are open from 4AM to 9PM, and a convenience store that is open around-the-clock. The first flight to depart from Terminal 3 became Jetstar Japan's flight GK101, service to Sapporo/New Chitose [CTS/RJCC], which left at 0611, four minutes ahead of schedule. It was operated by Airbus A320-232(SL) JA14JJ.

The Chiba airport becomes Japan's fourth to have a low-cost terminal after Ibaraki [IBR/RJAH], Okinawa/Naha [OKA/ROAH], and Osaka/Kansai [KIX/RJBB], which opened theirs on March 11th, 2010, October 18th, 2012, and October 28th, 2012, respectively. It reflects the dramatic increase of LCCs serving Kanto (Greater Tokyo) region's main international gateway; the 14 LCCs now account for 18% of Narita's seats, including 67% of domestic and 8% of international, up from almost zero only four years ago.

While Tokyo/Haneda [HND/RJTT] remains heavily regulated, LCCs wishing to serve the megalopolis have had to choose from either Narita or Ibaraki, and Haneda's recent addition of international slots have seen full-service carriers gradually shift some services to Haneda, which prompted Narita to become more aggressive in luring new airlines, with LCCs especially being an important target. Ibaraki, though having the distinction of having the nation's first LCC-dedicated terminal (its only one), has succeeded in attracting only one LCC: Spring Airlines [9C/CQH].

Narita's nine other LCCs that have yet to decide to move to Terminal 3 are Air Busan [BX/ABL], AirAsia X [D7/XAX], Cebu Air [5J/CEB] (d.b.a. Cebu Pacific Air), Eastar Jet [ZE/ESR], Hong Kong Express Airways [UO/HKE] (d.b.a. HK Express), Peach Aviation [MM/APJ], Scoot Airlines [TZ/SCO], Thai AirAsia X [XJ/TAX], and Tigerair Taiwan [IT/TTW], though the relatively small terminal lacks the capacity to house all of these carriers. On the list of LCCs waiting for regulatory clearance are long-haul carriers Indonesia AirAsia X [XT/IDX] and NokScoot Airlines [XW/NCT].

Source: CAPA Centre for Aviation, March 24th. (in English)
Source: Aviation Wire, April 8th. (in Japanese)
Source: Flightliner, April 8th. (in Japanese)

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