According to a news article published on Nikkei (Japanese) last night, Japanese MLIT (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport and Tourism) will ease its regulations to allow airport operators to open up domestic airside areas to non-passengers.
It seems like the effort was spearheaded by Sendai Airport that was recently privatized and is looking for ways to boost its revenues. And, while it seems like the regulations will be relaxed later this year, each airport will be able to decide whether and when it wants to open up its airside facilities to non-flyers.
Which Airport Will Actually Implement It?
Given that the non-flyers will still have to go through the same security check as passengers, it is hard for me to imagine big airports open up anytime soon. It is hard to imagine them letting the oftentimes crowded security checks become even more crowded.
Plus, I could imagine there could be some backlash from businesses that have stores in the landside area.
On the other hand, for smaller regional airports like the one in Sendai, this could be a good way to encourage more spending at the airside stores. And to “get kids sending their dads off on their business trips to Tokyo.”
In either case, I am curious to see how this works out, and how many airports will actually proceed to implement this – given some of the logistical challenges of doing so.
What do you think about this easing of restrictions?
Do you know about any other countries where people can go airside even if they are not flying?