Terminal 3

by Kensatsukan Gaijin

Narita airport is the gateway to Japan for nearly all American visitors, so if you’ve been there, you probably already know Terminal 1 or Terminal 2.  Terminal 1 is home to airlines like Delta, Virgin, and ANA, and Terminal 2 is home to JAL, American, and other well-known airlines.  But starting April 8, 2015, Narita opened a brand new Terminal, devoted to low-cost carriers: Narita Terminal 3. 

Located 500 meters north of Terminal 2, the new terminal incorporates several cost-cutting measures, including using decals instead of lighted directional signs and using outdoor gates and airstairs instead of jet bridges, which are intended to reduce facility costs for airlines and their passengers by around 40% on international flights and 15% on domestic flights. Jetstar Japan, Vanilla Air and three other low-cost carriers use the terminal. The terminal also includes a 24-hour food court, which is the largest airport food court in Japan, and an Islamic prayer room. It was built at a cost of 15 billion yen and covers 66,000 square meters of floor space.

Narita currently hosts operations by four Japanese and nine international Low-cost carriers, whose share of the Narita market has exploded from 13% in 2013 to 20% in 2014.  Still,  LCCs account for about 7 percent of the country’s total air passengers, far lower than the 50 percent they account for in Southeast Asia and 30 percent in North America. This leaves a great deal of room for expansion.

The entire terminal is built around the concept of “low-cost.”  To start with, for Terminal 3, the Narita Airport operator is to collect 1,020 yen (S$11.49) per passenger for use of the facility and 520 yen for security services from international flight passengers. The charges are about 40 per cent lower than the charges for Terminals 1 and 2.   To save money without sacrificing style, the designer Muji supplied the over 100 benches as well as other furnishings. Muji chairs and tables fill the food court, while familiar names still appear as well - FaSoLa will still operate the duty-free shops and convenience stores.  

Perhaps most striking, however, is Muji’s design for the passenger walkways.  Completed well in advance of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the new terminal has been designed around an indoor running track. a color-coded circuit, which links the entirety of the scheme.  The color-coded walkways not only help travelers find their way, but also provide a comfortable walking experience throughout the terminal’s interior.  In this design, there are no moving walkways or illuminated signs, but instead a system of red and blue running lanes - blue pathways for departures and red for arrivals.

Here are some cool pictures, and at the end a video about the project that highlights the running track.  (Japanese, with English subtitles.)


The new terminal also houses the largest duty-free shop at the airport. Boasting 680 square meters of floor space, the shop sells products from sweets and clothing to household electric appliances.

Japan’s aviation stakeholders are hoping that the new terminal will serve as an additional gateway for foreign tourists coming to a country that has set a target of attracting 20 million visitors a year by 2020.




Moodie Report


The Japan News

The Asahi Shinbun