Narita Airport Launches an Incentive Program to Attract New Long-Haul Routes

Last week, Narita Airport announced that starting from January 1, 2020, it will offer a new incentive to airlines launching long-haul flights to destinations not yet served from the airport.

Combined with existing incentives, it will exempt airlines from paying landing fees on certain routes for the first three years of their operation.

Narita Airport Launches an Incentive Program to Attract New Long-Hauls
Narita airport’s traffic will drop next April once ANA and JAL (and other airlines) have moved more of their flights to Haneda.

Narita Airport’s New “International Long-Haul Bonus”

Since Tokyo Haneda started opening up to international flights a couple of years ago, Narita’s role as the intercontinental gateway to Japan has been slowly diminishing. The airport’s passenger numbers are growing, however, that has been mainly driven by low-cost airlines – both domestic and from the region – and other airlines from Asia.

With ANA and JAL – as well as some non-Japanese carriers – taking advantage of newly available Haneda slots and moving some of their long-haul flights to the more convenient airport, Narita will see even less intercontinental traffic from next spring.

To try to mitigate the effect of that change, Narita airport announced the “International Long-Haul Bonus.”

The new incentive program will apply to international passenger routes longer than 7,000 kilometers to destinations not yet served from Narita airport launched between January 1, 2020, and March 31, 2022. Combined with the airport’s existing “New Route Discount” program, airlines will be exempt from paying landing fees of eligible flights:

  • Year 1: 100% “New Route Discount”
  • Year 2: 70% “New Route Discount” / 30% “International Long-Haul Bonus”
  • Year 3: 40%  “New Route Discount” / 60% “International Long-Haul Bonus”

The program will not apply to new airlines launching routes already served by different airlines.

Narita 7,000km Radius
The dark area depicts areas further than 7,000 kilometers from Narita. (Credit: Great Circle Mapper)

As can be seen on the map above, the new incentive will, among others, apply to:

  • All new routes to/from Europe
  • All new routes to/from the Middle East and Africa
  • All new routes to/from Central and South America
  • All new routes to/from the 48 contiguous U.S. states

Currently, El Al’s Tel Aviv – Tokyo Narita route which is expected to launch on March 11, 2020, is the only already announced route to which the new incentive will apply. While JAL will be (re)launching San Francisco flights on March 29, 2020, the route is already served by ANA and United, and so it will not be eligible for the additional discount.


There is no doubt that Narita airport has suffered after the, for most Tokyo visitors, considerably more convenient Haneda started (re)opening to international flights. Since the initial drop in traffic, Narita airport has been able to rebound by attracting flights from the region.

However, with the upcoming move of many long-haul routes to Haneda, Narita airport’s traffic numbers will undeniably suffer starting from April 2020.

With that in mind, it is good to see the airport attempting to rebuild the lost long-haul network by offering the new “International Long-Haul Bonus” discount on landing fees. While at this point, El Al is the only new long-haul airline confirmed to launch Narita flights next year, more will hopefully follow as a result of this incentive.

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