Narita Airport: Passenger Numbers at All-Time Low, But Freight at Record HighEconomy World
In 2021 5,244,194 domestic and international passengers used Narita International Airport, a reduction of 50% compared with the previous year. For the second year running, the airport set a record low for international traveler numbers, at 1,893,477, a decline of 74% on the preceding year. While the pandemic did not begin to significantly impact 2020 statistics until after February, the entirety of 2021 was affected by global restrictions on international movement. Bans on spectators for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games held in summer 2021 meant these events did not significantly add to traveler numbers either.
At the same time, international freight volumes at Narita rose 32% to a record 2,591,255 metric tons. Exports of plastics for automotive applications rose after the recovery of the North American auto industry brought about greater demand, and exports of semiconductor manufacturing equipment also increased as a result of the global semiconductor shortage. Meanwhile, increased demand for COVID-19 vaccines and other medical supplies contributed to an increase in import volumes. Also contributing to the rise in imports were disruptions to international shipping, which created a one-off influx in the airfreight of commodities usually transported by sea.
(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Jiji.)