FRESH AIR IN TOKYO

Three new Haneda routes to fly through US-con­trolled skies...

Travel Daily Asia - - News -

Ja­pan gets per­mis­sion from US to launch three new routes from Haneda Air­port...

The Ja­pa­nese gov­ern­ment has had to ask the USA’s per­mis­sion to open a se­ries of new com­mer­cial air routes from Haneda In­ter­na­tional Air­port - even though they pass through the skies above Tokyo.

This is be­cause the US still con­trols vast swathes of airspace over the Ja­pa­nese cap­i­tal, as part of agree­ments made at the end of World War II.

But Ky­odo News re­ports that the US will now per­mit more com­mer­cial flights to op­er­ate through its airspace ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. This could po­ten­tially lead to the US re­turn­ing more, if not all of the airspace, in fu­ture, the Ja­pa­nese news agency re­ported gov­ern­ment sources as say­ing.

The so- called Yokota Rap­con airspace - named after a US mil­i­tary base in Ja­pan - cov­ers parts of Tokyo and eight other Ja­pa­nese pre­fec­tures, and current re­stric­tions on flights op­er­at­ing through this airspace are lead­ing to air traf­fic con­ges­tion.

Un­der the new plans, the Ja­pa­nese gov­ern­ment wants to in­crease the num­ber of an­nual ar­rival and depar­ture slots at Haneda by up to 39,000 in time for the Olympics. It has also drawn up four new routes, three of which go through the US- con­trolled airspace. Ky­odo re­ported its sources as con­firm­ing that these three routes have al­ready been ap­proved by the US.

The new routes will boost the air­port’s depar­ture and land­ing ca­pac­ity as they would al­low two air­craft to land si­mul­ta­ne­ously on two run­ways, the sources added.

The Yokota Rap­con airspace has been un­der US mil­i­tary con­trol since Au­gust 1945, when Amer­i­can forces took over Ja­pan's flight con­trol op­er­a­tions at the end of the war. Parts of the airspace were re­turned in 1992 and 2008.

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