Feasibility surveys of the third Tokyo metropolitan airport
Even after Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) is fully expanded and New Tokyo International Airport (Narita Airport) goes into full-fledged operation, the aviation capacity of the Tokyo metropolitan area is projected to reach its limit early in the 21st century. The government explored the possibility of re-expanding Haneda Airport, utilizing existing airports, and constructing another airport inland, but concluded that none of these plans were feasible for environmental and other reasons. This conclusion directed government exploration, since 1996, toward the possibility of building a third Tokyo airport offshore. A committee was set up in March 1996 to gather opinion regarding the planned airport and build consensus at the local government level. Participating bodies are the Ministry of Transport, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the prefectural governments of Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa, and the municipal councils of Yokohama, Kawasaki and Chiba.
Railway access to airports
Japan has built only minimal airport accesses. In the days when air transport services were emerging, the number of service users was small. Hence, the means of public transportation to airports were built with low capacities. A typical example is Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), to which the only public transportation access service is the Tokyo Monorail. The fact that the Ministry of Transport, which manages international airports, gave preferential treatment to the Tokyo Monorail, was attributed to slow movement in the private sector toward developing access services for the airport. In recent years, the rapid growth of aviation has created a need for high-speed, high-capacity railway access to airports. A successful example is the simultaneous opening of Kansai International Airport and its railway access routes, operated by JR West and Nankai Electric Railway. Railway access to existing airports is now being proceeded. For example, JR Hokkaido extended its line to a terminal building at the New Chitose Airport in 1992, and Keihin Electric Express Railway opened service to Haneda Airport at the end of 1998.