Tokyo, June 12 (Jiji Press)–New low-altitude flight routes over central Tokyo are drawing many complaints after their launch in late March despite low utilization due to plunging flight demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Over 2,500 complaints have been brought by residents of areas under the new flight routes, aimed at increasing the number of landings and takeoffs at Tokyo International Airport at Haneda.
The transport ministry is considering additional measures to alleviate noise pollution.
According to the ministry, aircraft using the new routes fly over Tokyo’s Shinagawa and Minato wards between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to make landings at the airport, when south winds blow.
About 130 domestic and international flights were projected to use the routes during the period. But airlines have slashed the number of international flights due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The operating rates of the new routes “are around 30 to 40 pct of the projected levels, with the use limited almost exclusively to domestic flights,” a ministry official said.
Despite the low utilization, the new routes are generating a number of complaints about noise as the aircraft fly at low altitudes over densely populated residential areas in the Japanese capital.
The ministry had received 2,548 complaints by the end of May. Municipalities in areas under the new routes have asked the ministry to address noise pollution.
In response, the ministry will create a panel of experts, including flight control specialists and pilots, as early as this month to consider noise reduction measures.
The panel will also study the technical feasibility of operating alternative flight routes. It is expected to compile a proposal by the end of March 2021.