Views On Flights To Tokyo Haneda Airport Are About To Get Better

Filed Under: Travel

It’s not often that something changes to cause views on flights to get better, though that’s exactly what’s happening in Tokyo right now.

Haneda Airport getting dozens of new flights

Tokyo Haneda Airport is undergoing a significant expansion this spring, ahead of the 2020 Olympics. The airport has issued about 50 new international slots.

Among those slots, US airlines have been granted an additional dozen Tokyo Haneda slots, with airlines from other countries getting many new slots as well. This isn’t all additional capacity for Japan, as in many cases we’re seeing airlines largely shift flights from Narita to Haneda (for example, as of this spring Delta will no longer fly to Narita).

Japan regaining control of airspace around Haneda

What’s largely making Haneda Airport expansion possible is that Japan will get to control more airspace around Tokyo, which has otherwise largely been managed by the US since the postwar period. While Japan isn’t technically getting the airspace back, they are at least allowed to control it.

Up until now, flights into & out of Haneda Airport have only been able to operate in very limited corridors, primarily over Tokyo Bay, with significant detours and altitude restrictions.

Even with those restrictions, views can sometimes be awesome. For example, when I flew Lufthansa from Tokyo Haneda to Munich recently, I had some awesome views on departure.

Tokyo Haneda departure view

Tokyo Haneda departure view

Flights will soon be operating over Tokyo

Yesterday afternoon, Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism, operated the first flight to Haneda Airport using one of the new routes, which had a Japan Airlines 777 passing right over Central Tokyo, around Shinjuku and Shibuya.

This is being done to familiarize air traffic controllers with the new approach pattern, and to alleviate concerns over noise associated with the new procedure.

The new procedure is expected to be fully active starting in late March, when the new routes are all added.

Bottom line

Tokyo has a mesmerizing skyline, and I was already in awe during my recent daytime departure out of Haneda. I can only imagine how much better views will be when these new flights paths are opened up right over Tokyo.

If you’re flying to Haneda Airport starting in late March, it may pay to pick a window seat…

  1. Just bought my ticket. I upgraded it using an expiring SWU on AA. Should be great, thanks for the tips.

  2. Seeing these widebodies right outside the window of my 30th floor apartment was truly mesmerizing. Can’t wait for this to become a permanent thing.

  3. I keep seeing things on twitter in Japanese from people who are scared or who think it’s a dumb idea, but I don’t quite get the concern. I mean, other cities in Japan have approaches over the city (like Itami and Fukuoka airports). I think it’s cool! I guess not everyone is an AV geek! I’m looking forward to seeing wide bodies up in the sky above Shinjuku

  4. Live half the time in Tokyo near Shibuya and the locals are not happy about the noise pollution. Posters all over local neighborhood against this. They are not happy.

    This is not good. Was fine before. No need for this just so can have some more flight to Haneda.

  5. @Mike Jones if they are that low at Shibuya and dreading what it’s going to be like down in Shirokane-Tanakawa and Mita where I park myself in Tokyo. There must be some very pissed off rich people in Azabujuban and Roppongi. If that is the route then they’ve picked some of richest and we’ll connected people in Tokyo to aggravate.

  6. US taxpayers are fronting the Japanese defense budget. The US better keeps control of Japan airspace and everything else!

  7. “Tokyo has a mesmerizing skyline…”
    I can’t really agree with you on this point, but I suppose it depends on where you’re viewing it from. From a distance where you can see the entire city, it’s not much to look at, there are pockets of high rise buildings in different parts of the city with lots of ugly, drab and gray concrete low-rise buildings everywhere else, though specific areas (Shinjuku, Akasaka, etc.) might be impressive up-close. When I first visited Tokyo in the early 70s, there were only three high-rise buildings in all of Tokyo, the Garden Tower of the New Otani had just been built, and the Mitsui Building and Sumitomo Building in Shinjuku were the other two. The skyline has definitely changed since then, but I can think of many more impressive skylines in the world than Tokyo’s.

  8. @Max @Tom

    What’s funny isn’t the imperialism. It’s the obsolete relic from WW2 like Japan cannot have a military but their (US supplied) self defense force is probably powerful enough to invade North Korea and intercept the retaliation strike without US aid.
    So does anyone really think controlling the Tokyo airspace would prevent Imperial Japan (if there were any left) from launching Zero or Kamikaze sorties?

    The real problem is the noise pollution over the city.

  9. Yeah, the locals (including yours truly) are not entirely pleased. It’s just more noise in an already noisy city. But unfortunately that ship sailed a while ago. Anyway, what Prime Minister Shinzo “Call me Donald” Abe wants, he gets, so the new approaches are here to stay.

  10. Funny comments! Interesting how people like me who appreciate progress would gladly appreciate as much as ‘American Imperialism’ as possible, while Socialists retrogrades only repeat what they are taught by the ever present anti-American sentiment (key part of every socialist DNA ant their creed of envy).

    Part of my family gratefully could flee, enjoying the little development of Panama thanks to the US.

    The other part of my family nearly starving by the Regime in Venezuela, only hoping that someday any of the developed countries care about them and help them get free. in the last 3 months there were 1.500 deaths, for totally preventable mainly sanitary causes..

    Only to later hear some clueless first world privileged folks criticize that my country was ‘invaded by the imperialism’ , the exact same speech of the deadly Regime, so it’s quite evident which side they take.

  11. @BBK

    The grass is always greener somewhere else.

    With all due respect, don’t follow only one sided news, it’s make you a dumb radicalized idiot.

    Isn’t the starvation the result of US embargo? The same US who you wanted to aid you. That same US would liberate (invade) only to get oil. Then would instate a bozo puppet in charge and let the country to rot and die. Just go ask Iraq.

    Does it ever occur to you that you idea of anti-American socialist DNA is because America didn’t mind our own business and be nosy on everyone else. They have much better things to do than hate America if we left them alone.

    America is great. But doesn’t mean we don’t have skeletons in our closet.

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