LONDON — Tokyo-Narita International Airport (NRT) will make history on July 3, when its 100th active airline flies into the airport.

The 100th client will be Fiji Airways, which from July 3 will launch direct flights from Nadi in Fiji.

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This number represents what almost a threefold increase in airline operations since NRT opened in May 1978 with only 34 carriers.

Today, about 18 of the 100 airlines are low-cost carriers, with the 99th being NokScoot.

Narita vs. Haneda

International services transferred to NRT from Tokyo-Haneda (HND) in 1931.

Even though HND is still welcoming international operations, NRT has risen over the years as foreign visitor volumes increased out of that particular airport.

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Tokyo-Haneda Airport

When NRT’s second runway opened in 2002, the number of carriers jumped from 54 to 68.

2015 saw the owners of NRT introduce a system that cut up to 100% of landing fees for the first year for airlines opening new routes to the airport, which stimulated growth more in the long-term rather than short.

Asian Mega Hub

Currently, there are flights from NRT to 116 international cities across 43 countries, including 18 domestic routes for Japan alone.

The airport will generate a 19th domestic route to Ishigaki Island, Okinawa from the start of July as well as the Chuuk Islands in Micronesia from September 1.

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Photo: Nanashinodensyaku

The airport plans to expand its Terminal 3 building, which will be dedicated to the LCCs.

The completion of such expansion is due for March 2022, which has come following the increased demand for such carriers like NokScoot and Jetstar, among others.

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This is a significant achievement for NRT as it is now at a point where expansion will be needed to welcome even more carriers into the airport.

For HND, however, the future is slightly more different. The slot-constrained airport, which is also adjacent to Tokyo’s city center, will continue to grow but at a measured pace.