Why You’ll Want to Book a Window Seat on Your Next Flight to Tokyo (Video)
Your next flight to Tokyo might be a lot more scenic.
Over the weekend, Tokyo’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism kicked off the first flight to Haneda Airport, using a new route that flies directly over central Tokyo.
Ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, Haneda Airport is undergoing a massive expansion. There are about 50 new international landing slots approved at the airport, which is possible thanks to a loosening of airspace rules.
The airspace over Tokyo has largely been controlled by the U.S. since the Pacific War, which ended in 1945. In 2018, the U.S. and Japan entered negotiation talks wherein Japan regained control of several flight routes, mainly over Tokyo, according to Japan’s Shingetsu News Agency. Japan isn’t getting the airspace back, but they are gaining more control.
Flights to and from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport have previously only operated in “very limited corridors,” according to One Mile at a Time. These routes were primarily focused over Tokyo Bay and necessitated detours and altitude restrictions on many flights.
The flights are starting to operate over central Tokyo in order to acclimate pilots and air traffic controllers to the new routes and approach pattern. They are also being tested due to some concern over noise pollution. The new entry into Tokyo's Haneda Airport should be fully operational in late March.
From then on, you may want to book a window seat to Tokyo — and be sure to have your camera ready when the cabin crew announces the plane is making its final descent.