Private Jets to Get Easier Access to Japan’s Airports

The Yomiuri Shimbun

In a bid to attract more wealthy foreign visitors, the tourism ministry plans to make it easier for private jets to use Japan’s airports.

People using foreign private jets to travel to Japan for sightseeing currently have to apply to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry at least 10 days before they will use a Japanese airport. Starting in May, the ministry plans to shorten this to at least three days in principle, and allow applications to be made as late as 24 hours in advance under unavoidable circumstances.

The ministry will revise aviation law-related notices to this end.

Rich foreigners using private jets often decide their travel destinations at the last minute or suddenly change their routes. By easing the application requirements, it will become possible for Japanese airports to accept sudden requests from such foreign visitors.

Members of the tourism industry and others have been asking the government to ease the requirements for foreign private jets to use Japanese airports. The government’s decision was also influenced by the fact that COVID-19’s classification under the infectious disease law will be lowered to Category V on May 8.

Tourism is one of the pillars of the government’s growth strategy and increasing the per capita spending of international visitors to Japan is an important task. In 2019, tourism-related expenditures by foreign visitors to Japan totaled ¥4.8 trillion, more than 10% of which was spent by the wealthy.

“If famous actors or artists come here as tourists and spread information about Japan via social media, it will further increase tourism demand,” a senior ministry official said.

According to the ministry, the number of takeoffs and landings of private jets traveling between Japanese and foreign destinations peaked at 5,962 in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic. The number slumped due to the spread of the virus, but is expected to grow again this year.

Domestic airports intend to enhance systems to accept private jets by building exclusive lounges and other facilities exclusively for the users of such travelers.