Today marks the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of Tokyo’s Narita International Airport. Airport construction was delayed months due to strikes and local attempts to halt construction, but it finally opened on 20 May 1978.
The 1960s boom in air travel led to overcrowding at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. The Japanese government needed a strategy to decrease the amount of traffic flowing through Haneda. In 1966, the government decided to build a new airport, originally intended to open in 1971.
Due to land disputes with local farmers, the government had to forcibly take land to complete the airport. The forced evacuation led to many riots. The first terminal was completed in 1972, and the first runway finished in 1978 (16L/34R). The airport was scheduled to open on 30 March, but protestors broke into Narita’s control tower and destroyed much of the air traffic control equipment. This delayed the opening of the airport until two months later.
The airport featured high passenger security for its time. By 1985 the protests had ceased, which gave the developers the opportunity to begin the second part of construction—a second runway, which finally opened in 2002 (16R/34L).
It has been 30 years since the difficult beginnings of Narita. In 2007 the airport still trails Haneda in terms of traffic by a significant margin—66.6 million passengers to 35.5 million passengers. However, the airport continues its strong growth. Between the years of 2001 and 2007, Narita saw an increase of 20.2 million passengers.
To mark the big day in Narita’s history, Singapore Airlines is inaugurating the first A380 service to Tokyo. Flight 636 left Singapore at 12:37 AM and is scheduled to arrive at gate 46 at 8:30 AM.
Update: bad weather in Tokyo forced Singapore's A380 to divert to Nagoya and arrive at Narita four hours late.
Tue, 20. May 2008
(Page 1 of 1, totaling 1 entries)