A record 68.74 million passengers used Haneda airport in Tokyo in 2013, transport ministry data showed Tuesday, putting it on course to become the world's third busiest airport possibly this year due to a big increase in number of flights.
According to data of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, approximately 60.76 million passengers either departed or arrived aboard domestic flights in 2013, as did 7.97 million passengers aboard international flights.
The number of international passengers is expected to increase further as Haneda airport, located in central Tokyo, is expanding the number of slots for international flights to 90,000 a year by the end of March from the current 60,000, to increase the number of flights to and from the United States and Europe.
"It is possible (for Haneda) to surpass the 70 million mark in 2014 and become one of the top three in the world in terms of annual travelers," a transport ministry official said.
The previous annual record for Haneda was about 66.82 million in 2007.
In 2009, the annual number of passengers fell to about 61.93 million due to the severe global recession that began in late 2008. But the number subsequently recovered, especially after the opening of a fourth runway in 2010.
At Narita airport about an hour east of central Tokyo, passengers totaled an estimated 35.38 million in 2013, the second highest number on record, according to its operator Narita International Airport Corp.