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Narita Airport: 30th Anniversary

Narita Airport: 30th Anniversary

May 19, 2008-Tokyo: Narita International Airport celebrates its 30th anniversary on Tuesday, May 20. In the past 30 years, Narita has been used by approximately 680 million passengers, more than five times the population of Japan, and has handled around 41 million tons of cargo. It is one of the safest airports in the world and has not had a major accident during that time.

Narita opened in 1978 with one terminal and a single 4,000-meter runway. A second terminal was built in 1992 and since then, both terminals have been expanded and refurbished. Today, Narita's luxurious terminals are capable of handling 42 million passengers a year and contain some of the most sophisticated shopping facilities ever seen in an airport.

A second runway was also built and is now being extended to 2,500 meters in length. This project will be completed in 2010 and will boost available slots to 220,000 flights a year. Once, the airport has met a number of conditions, the two runways combined could handle up to 300,000 flights a year. A new rapid rail system is also under construction and when completed in 2010, will link Narita with the nation's capital in about 35 minutes.

35 million passengers used Narita International Airport in the last year, 4 times more than in its first year of operation. Cargo traffic has grown more than 5 times during that period and the airport handled 2.2 million tons in the last year. Narita continues to operate close to runway capacity with 194,000 aircraft movements over the last 12 months but this is triple the figure posted 30 years ago.

One of the highlights of the celebrations will be the arrival of the first scheduled Airbus A380 flight on the morning of May 20. The Singapore Airlines flight will be parked at a gate with double boarding bridges serving both upper and lower decks. Narita is also holding many other events to celebrate its anniversary.

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