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Why Are Japanese Airports and Airlines So Expensive?

thomas

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Japanese airports are becoming less competitive than their Asian competitors. Asahi Shinbun ran a large article last Monday largely blaming incompetent authorities as well as the greedy semi-criminal construction industry. Yesterday, the Weekly Post asked:

Why Are Japanese Airports and Airlines So Expensive?

At the Japanese airports such as Narita International Airport, Haneda International Airport and Kansai International Airport, the price of fast food is 50 percent higher than in other places.

A cup of Japanese soba noodles costs 580 yen (approx. $4.80), a plate of curried rice is priced at 980 yen (approx. $8.20) and a Big Mac costs 170 yen (approx. $1.42). Also, landing charges at these airports are so expensive that foreign governments are vehemently criticizing the policy of the Japanese government.

Now, the Japanese airlines are asking for an increase in air fares. Why are things in the Japanese airline industry so expensive? The Weekly Post has found the major cause of high costs was the salaries and other compensation for executives who descended from the high government official posts to airline companies and airport operation companies.


=> weeklypost.com/030203/030203c.htm

Related articles:

Taxpayer bailout of Kansai International Airport Co.

The Land, Infrastructure, and Transport Ministry has announced an ad hoc plan to rise airport landing fees from the next fiscal year at major airports such as Haneda and Itami as well as at regional airports. The hikes in landing fees will inevitably result in higher ticket prices. [...]

Already, landing fees at Japanese airports are considered to be the most expensive in the world, and are driving up distribution costs. It is reckless to raise the fees even higher. Instead, shouldn't it be the government's duty to find a way to lower landing fees to bring them into line with rates charged at airports outside of Japan? [...]


=> mdn.mainichi.co.jp/news/archive/200212/24/20021224p2a00m0oa022000c.html

EDITORIAL: Make Osaka airport fly

Since Itami airport is in a crowded urban area, the government has spent huge sums over the years in noise control and other environmental efforts. Now, with the second-phase work on a second runway at Kansai International Airport nearing completion and a new airport for Kobe scheduled a few years from now, the ministry says Itami can and should be scaled back. Airlines and passengers who like the convenience of Itami should pay extra for the expensive environmental measures.

The ministry plans to reduce the number of jet slots at Itami by 50 to 200 a day to reduce noise. Landing fees, now 489,000 yen for every jumbo jet, would be doubled to bring in an estimated 10 billion yen a year in added revenue, which would be used to reduce the environmental impact of the airport. That would translate to airfare increases of roughly 500 to 600 yen for one-way tickets to Itami. The transport ministry hopes to apply these measures in the fiscal year that begins in April 2003.


=> asahi.com/english/op-ed/K2002112700311.html

Airlines Fight Plan To Hike Landing Fees At Tokyo Airport

=> news.airwise.com/stories/2002/01/1010492348.html
 

Maciamo

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A cup of Japanese soba noodles costs 580 yen (approx. $4.80), a plate of curried rice is priced at 980 yen (approx. $8.20) and a Big Mac costs 170 yen (approx. $1.42). Also, landing charges at these airports are so expensive that foreign governments are vehemently criticizing the policy of the Japanese government.

They must be kidding ! Narita airport is so cheap compared to, say Honolulu airport (Hawaii). The airport tax in Narita is only 2000yen, while it is 6500 yen in Hawaii and I guess its the same in other US airport (since 11/9 to pay for the tighter security). In Honolulu airport, a mere sandwich or hotdog was about 13 US$ (1600yen), enough to buy three full meal in Narita that on top of that taste much better ! That is a thing I really love in Japan, food and drink prices are the same anywhere you go. You'd pay the same in central Tokyo, in the country, in a train station, a cinema or an airport. In most Western countries, you'd pay up to 5 times the normal price for the same drink in a cinema, station or airport (for example, I had to pay 4US$ for a small bottle of water in the cinema in Hawaii).

Of course they can't compare prices in Thailand and Japan, as the economy isn't the same. But I am pretty sure sushi are more expensive (and less good) in Bangkok airport than in Narita.
 
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thomas

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Hehe, the Weekly Post article was a bit misleading, as it started to mention prices at airport restaurants. The point is that Narita, Haneda and probably the new Kansai airport have the highest airport taxes and landing fees around. Fees that will have a impact on the sale of airline tickets as the passengers will have to bear the brunt. Ticket sales were already decreasing in 2002, and that trend will continue (see the articles above).
 

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So, how comes that one can fly Tokyo-Los Angeles-Tokyo for 200US$, but no LA-Tokyo-LA flight cost less than 500US$. It's easy to fly Tokyo-London (or Paris)-Tokyo for 350US$, but I have never heard of ticket cheaper than 500US$ (and still, only with youth discount) the other way round.
 
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thomas

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I assume that Japan-based carriers have special arrangements, as they are based at the airports mentioned above. Probably incoming flights of foreign carriers ("L.A.-Tokyo-L.A.") do not enjoy these privileges. But that's just a guess, I need to do more research.

Anyhow, airline ticketing is a science! ;)
 

gundamv3

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Originally posted by Maciamo
They must be kidding ! Narita airport is so cheap compared to, say Honolulu airport (Hawaii). The airport tax in Narita is only 2000yen, while it is 6500 yen in Hawaii and I guess its the same in other US airport (since 11/9 to pay for the tighter security). In Honolulu airport, a mere sandwich or hotdog was about 13 US$ (1600yen), enough to buy three full meal in Narita that on top of that taste much better ! That is a thing I really love in Japan, food and drink prices are the same anywhere you go. You'd pay the same in central Tokyo, in the country, in a train station, a cinema or an airport. In most Western countries, you'd pay up to 5 times the normal price for the same drink in a cinema, station or airport (for example, I had to pay 4US$ for a small bottle of water in the cinema in Hawaii).

Of course they can't compare prices in Thailand and Japan, as the economy isn't the same. But I am pretty sure sushi are more expensive (and less good) in Bangkok airport than in Narita.

Well most things in Hawaii are imported so stuff is a lot pricier.
a normal bottle of water from a store is 99cents (around 118 yen) and at a theater it is normally $1.00 to $1.50 (around120 yen to 179 yen) and a normal cheese burger is only 99 cents and hotdog is normally the same. but yes honolulu is pretty pricy (I remember buy a magazine around 4 years ago (age 9) for $5.00 when it was worth $1.25)
 
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