CHIBA —The total number of takeoffs and landings at Narita International Airport, the gateway to Japan, surpassed a whooping five million mark on Tuesday.
At 11 a.m., JAL Flight 413, bound for Helsinki in Finland, brought the tally of takeoffs and landings to 5 million. The plane’s captain was given a bouquet of flowers at the departure gate prior to take-off. All 137 passengers also received a gift.
The number of flights in and out of Narita is expected to further increase at a rapid pace now that a new terminal entirely dedicated to low-cost carriers has opened recently.
In a coincidence, the very first flight landing at the Narita Airport on May 22, 1978 also belonged to Japan Airlines.
It took more than 12 years for the airport to reach its first million flights. However, it took less than five years to get its five millionth flight on Tuesday. Close to 1,000,000 visitors use the airport every day on average basis thus making it one of the busiest airports in the world.
The airport opened its doors on May 22, 1978, and, was for two decades a battleground between riot police and local farmers and radical groups opposing the government taking their land. In recent years, things have quietened down considerably.
In the recent years, the airport has also improved its facilities to its Muslim visitors including the availability of Halal food, prayer rooms etc. before and the passport gates.