FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE … On June 2, 2006, Narita International Airport opened a sparklingly refurbished South Wing at Terminal 1.F With this new wing, Japan’s main international gateway now has the largest floor space of any terminal in Japan, 440,000 square meters, which is 2.4 times its 1995 size -- when renovations began.
As part of the refurbishment, Narita Airport Authority (NAA) has rearranged the airlines that use the terminal according to their airline alliance groupings to make flight connections easier. NAA President Masahiko Kurono, proudly announced, “Narita will be the world’s first airport to allocate each of the three largest airline coalitions ? Star Alliance, Oneworld, and Sky Team -- to distinct terminals.”
Already, ten Star Alliance carriers, including All Nippon Airways, United Airlines, and Lufthansa, have moved to the upgraded South Wing. Terminal 1’s North Wing will mainly house Sky Team members, including Northwest Airlines and Air France (Continental and Delta, also Sky Teamers, will move to Terminal 1 North in spring 2007). Terminal 2 will mainly serve the Oneworld alliance, including British Airways and American Airlines (moving there in winter 2006). Qantas and Japan Airlines are already located in Terminal 2, but JAL will officially join Oneworld in 2007 (www.oneworld.com/pressroom/releases/details.cfm?ObjectID=7492). Non-Alliance member airlines, such as Air Japan and Air Nippon will find space in the new South Wing.
Kurono explained that the “’move under one roof policy’ of putting carriers of the same alliance in one terminal, is much easier for passengers on code-shared flights.” Now Star Alliance transit passengers can get from one international flight to another in 45 minutes, compared to 110 minutes, in the past. In fact, with the new terminal arrangement only 2.5% of code-shared flights will involve moving passengers between terminals.
AThe new Number 5 Satellite (Airplane parking slot) at Terminal 1 is also facilitating connections. It features boarding areas for domestic flights, allowing for smoother transit between international and domestic routes. Minimum connection times from domestic to international flights have been cut to 60 minutes from 110 and reverse connections from international to domestic flights have been cut to 75 minutes from 130!
The NAA invested $600 million in the new South Terminal, and All Nippon Airways invested $35 million of its own capital, installing 126 automatic check-in machines and new lounges with a total floor space of 6,300 square meters. Now the NAA is funding $170 million on improvements to the newer Terminal 2, which should be finished by early 2007.
Handling 26.5 million international passengers, Narita currently ranks eighth in the world in terms of international passenger traffic, and with 2.31 million tons of air freight, it holds second place in international air freight volume (2004 International Civil Aviation Organization figures). The Terminal 1 expansion is expected to ease congestion, as will the new state-of-the art “in-line security screening system,” a combination of an explosive detection system and a conveyer system to speed passengers through security. In this way, passengers can go straight to check-in counters, as baggage is screened AFTER check-in while on a conveyer belt to the plane.
The South Wing’s new 3,500 square meter duty-free shopping area, the largest airport duty-free shopping space in Japan, is NAA’s effort to make up for the decline in revenue, as a result of the 21% average landing fees reduction as of October 2006. However, travelers certainly can benefit from this shopping mecca, where just the right wrapped last-minute omiyage (gift) can easily be found.
Check out the VJC listing on the New York Times Travel Show website. Go to http://www.nytimes.com/travelshow/Exhibitors/Exhibitors.html and click on “Visit Japan” Booth 741!
For more information on the New Terminal 1 South Wing and the rest of the Narita Airport Renovations visit: www.bigchange-naa.jp/en/index.html and www.narita-airport.jp/en/index.html. For other travel information on Japan, visit the Japan National Tourist Organization’s websites at: www.japantravelinfo.com, and www.jnto.go.jp/
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