Written by Hiroshi Higashiyama, Universal Aviation Japan
UPDATE: September 07, 2019
On October 22, 2019, Japan will hold an Emperor’s Enthronement ceremony for its new Emperor, Naruhito. The event is expected to draw a large contingent of international dignitaries and is expected to impact business aviation operations to the country. Currently, Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) anticipates approximately 150 state/charter VIP aircrafts to visit Japan for the enthronement. However, parking at Haneda (RJTT) and Narita (RJAA) will be limited to approx. 50 aircrafts, so roughly 100 visiting aircraft will be forced to reposition to other airports.
Airspace Restriction Announced
JCAB has issued the following airspace restriction for the Emperor’s Enthronement Ceremony:
- Restriction Period: From 21 October 2019 0000JST (20 October 2019 1500UTC) to 25 October 2019 0000JST (24 October 2019 1500UTC)
- Restriction Zone: 25nm radius of the imperial palace (35°42’ 1”N, 139°45’ 15”N)
- Exceptions: Aircraft engaged in the security of this airspace or aircraft specially-approved by ATC to enter this airspace.
Airport Restrictions & Very Limited Parking
On September 6, JCAB issued it’s official announcement on airport restrictions. Here’s a summary of what it says:
- Restriction Period: From October 19 (Saturday) to October 26 (Saturday)
- Restricted Airports: Tokyo/Haneda International (RJTT), Narita International (RJAA), Kansai International (RJBB), Chubu Centrair International (RJGG), New Chitose (RJCC), Fukuoka (RJFF), Naha (ROAH), Hakodate (RJCH), Aomori (RJSA), Hanamaki (RJSI), Sendai (RJSS), Niigata (RJSN), Ibaraki (RJAH), Shizuoka (RJNS), Komatsu (RJNK), Toyama (RJNT), Okayama (RJOB), Hiroshima (RJOA), Yonago RJOH), Matsuyama (RJOM), Takamatsu (RJOT), Yamaguchi-Ube (RJDC), Kitakyushu (RJFR), Nagasaki (RJFU), Saga (RJFS), Kumamoto (RJFT), Oita (RJFO), Miyazaki (RJFM) and Kagoshima (RJFK).
As expected highest priority will be given to VIP flights carrying government officials and other official guests of the ceremony, with the highest concentration of traffic at Tokyo-metro airports Haneda and Narita.
You “might” be able to use these airports
The notice says non-VIP GA operators “might” still be able to use these airports, subject to availability. However, any arrangements you make at these airports will be at risk of being bumped by a VIP flight. For practical purposes, you should expect Haneda and Narita to be completely non-usable for non-VIP flights during this period.
At the other airports listed, you may be limited to drop-and-go only, as overnight parking will be consumed by VIP aircraft–especially during the beginning and ending of the ceremony on Oct. 19-20 and Oct. 25-26
For overnight options during these periods, you may want to consider repositioning to airports outside of Japan like Gimpo International (RKSS) in Seoul, South Korea–which is just an hour flight away.