• Joe Breitfeller

Japan Airlines Becomes First Japanese Carrier to Introduce Autonomous Towing Operations at Narita

After a successful pilot program in partnership with Narita International Airport Corporation (NAA), Japan Airlines will officially launch and operate autonomous towing tractors to transport checked-in baggage at Narita International Airport.


Japan Airlines to Launch Autonomous Towing Operations at Tokyo-Narita - Courtesy JAL

On Tuesday (March 2, 2021) Japan Airlines (JAL) announced that after a successful pilot program, performed in partnership with Narita International Airport Corporation (NAA), they will officially launch and operate autonomous towing tractors to transport checked-in baggage at Narita International Airport. The trials verified that JAL’s representatives had gained the necessary experience and knowledge to ensure safe operation of the autonomous vehicles. The experience equates to a Driving Level 3 Qualification, in an environment where numerous aircraft, vehicles and airport personnel are stationed.


JAL will continue to cooperate with the public and private sectors to realize driverless operations within the restricted areas of the airport, as the company believes automation is a key driver for creating new, efficient and safe ground handling operations. The carrier will utilize TractEasy vehicles by TLD, which will transport baggage from the Main Building (Terminal 2) to the baggage sorting area of the Satellite Terminal. The aforementioned Driving Level 3 ‘equivalent’ is defined as “the system performing overall operation on the condition that the driver always monitors the status of automated driving in the vehicle and take over operation when the action to avoid danger is necessary, such as when it is difficult to continue automated driving.”


JAL to Introduce Autonomous Towing Tractor Operations at Narita International Airport (NRT) - Courtesy Japan Airlines

Currently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Satellite terminal at Narita is closed, so automated operations will begin as soon as the terminal reopens.



Source: Japan Airlines