Business aviation access to Tokyo is about to get easier. Beginning October 31, Tokyo's Haneda International Airport (RJTT), previously opened to business aircraft arrivals from overseas only between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., will allow eight slots for domestic and international flights (up to four arrivals) during the previously prohibited hours. Slots for nighttime arrivals remain unlimited.
"It's important to let [business aviation users] know that Haneda is open for business," said Kazuyuki Tamura, auditor and head of the Japan Business Aviation Association (JBAA), which has been working to loosen restrictions on international arrivals at Haneda since 1996.
Previously, all daytime international business aircraft arrivals to Tokyo had to use Narita International Airport, about an hour and a half by ground transportation from Tokyo.
Business aviation has been slow to gain a toehold in Japan because the culture stresses public over private transportation. But changing attitudes and the recent completion of a fourth runway at Haneda, which is capable of handing commercial aircraft, led to the policy change, Tamura explained.
Aircraft parking has been extended at Haneda, from a maximum of five days to seven days. Moreover, business aircraft arriving at Haneda previously had to park far from the terminal, requiring a long drive across the field with frequent stops for taxiing aircraft. Now, aircraft parking is close to the airport's new international terminal, further speeding operations.
"Japan is now more open to business aviation than ever before," said Chris Buchholz, Universal Weather and Aviation president, Asia-Pacific. "We would encourage [Tokyo bound] people using corporate jets to go to Haneda." Handling company Universal Weather has offices at Haneda, as well as Narita, Osaka and Sapporo.
Tamura noted that the "deregulation" at Haneda, as the JBAA calls it, is "a foot in the door," and that as business aviation usage and demand for slots at Haneda increase, the government will likely allow more traffic. Looking ahead, Tamura said Tokyo also has four air force bases–two used by Japan and two by the U.S. Ultimately, JBAA would like to see one or more of them turned to dual use, further increasing access for private aviation.
Buchholz noted that whereas international arrivals of business aircraft were formerly almost exclusively from the U.S., the rise of general aviation throughout the region has changed the picture, with more traffic coming from Hong Kong, China, Korea and Southeast Asia.
Convention attendees who want to know more about flying into Japan are invited to visit the Universal Weather booth (No. 3927) for more information.