Narita Airport facing severe worker shortage

TOKYO, Oct 27 (NHK) - The number of shops and staff at Japan's Narita Airport has taken a big hit since the start of the pandemic. The slump comes at a difficult time for the transport hub, which is facing a resurgence in tourists and other travelers.

A survey by the airport operator in February showed there were 619 shops, restaurants and other businesses at Narita. That was a decline of 8 percent from 2017.

The number of workers was down by about 7,000 to around 36,300, a 16-percent drop.

The fall poses a major headache for the operator, which is seeing a healthy recovery in traffic.

Compounding the problem is the fact that Narita's third runway is due for completion in 6 years' time, meaning visitors to the airport will only increase.

The operator expects it will need roughly 70,000 people to staff businesses at the airport by that time.