Star Alliance Cuts Terminal Time in Tokyo

A multi-million-dollar facility to debut in Tokyo’s Narita Airport

By: Jim Calio

In a move designed to speed up connections at Tokyo’s Narita Airport, Star Alliance has announced that it will consolidate its operations in a new, $636 million state-of-the-art facility at the airport’s Terminal 1.

Under the plan, the South Wing of Narita Terminal 1 along with Satellites 3, 4 and 5 will be the new home for Star Alliance members ANA, Air Canada, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, SWISS, Singapore Airlines, THAI and United Airlines.

A spokesman for Star Alliance predicted that by housing these airlines all under one roof, connection times will be reduced from 110 to 45 minutes for international flights; from 130 minutes to 60 minutes for domestic to international flights; and from 110 minutes to 75 minutes for international to domestic flights.

The 10 carriers sharing Terminal 1 will offer more than 794 weekly flights to 30 destinations in 15 countries. In all, Star Alliance currently provides 15,500 daily flights to 842 airports in 152 countries.

The Narita “co-location” (as it’s called) took five years to complete and is one of several Star Alliance has planned for airports around the world.

“Completing this co-location here in Narita is a milestone in our worldwide ‘Move Under One Roof’ strategy,” said Jaan Albrecht, Star Alliance CEO. “We now look forward to offering our customers a top-notch facility at what is, after all, one of our major hubs in northeast Asia.”

Check-in areas at Terminal 1 for the 10 member carriers have been arranged in zones according the class of travel, with Star Alliance Gold Card holders being served in an exclusive area.

In addition, more that 120 self-service units have been installed where customers can use automated check-in.

Rob Henderson, a spokesman for ANA, pointed out that clients departing from the U.S. would also benefit from the consolidation at Narita’s Terminal 1.

“If, for example, someone was flying on United Airlines from Chicago to Fukuoka in southern Japan, they would only have to check in once in Chicago,” he said. “Again, bags would have to be picked up at Narita and taken through customs, but then dropped on a conveyor. It’s all in the same building, so it’s very simple and quick.”

Other Star Alliance “co-location” projects are now underway in Bangkok, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Madrid and Paris Charles de Gaulle.

Air China and Shanghai Airlines recently announced their intention to join Star Alliance, a process that usually takes a year. This will increase the number of member carriers to 20.