East Japan Railway Co. announced plans to construct a new access line to Haneda Airport that will link it with Tokyo Station in a mere 18 minutes.

At a Feb. 15 news conference, JR East President Yuji Fukasawa said, "More people are using Haneda Airport, so there will be social significance in creating more ways to access the facility."

Construction will begin in fiscal 2022, with a target completion date in fiscal 2029. The company is considering shouldering the entire construction cost of 300 billion yen ($2.7 billion).

An environment assessment study will begin as early as May.

Under the JR East plan, a new underground station will be constructed close to Haneda's domestic terminal. A tunnel measuring about five kilometers will be dug to connect the new station to the Tokyo Cargo Terminal in Shinagawa Ward. Cargo tracks from the terminal that are currently not being used would link airport trains to the Tokaido Line tracks near Tamachi Station before heading to Tokyo Station.

The quickest current route between Tokyo Station and Haneda Airport takes about 28 minutes. Passengers transfer at Hamamatsucho Station to take the Tokyo Monorail to reach the airport. Another option taking about 33 minutes is to transfer at Shinagawa Station to the Keikyu Line.

The new line would offer a direct service between Tokyo Station and Haneda Airport.

Building the new line also opens up possibilities of the line extending beyond Tokyo Station to the Utsunomiya, Takasaki and Joban lines by using the Ueno-Tokyo Line.

Given that Tokyo Station serves as a hub for Shinkansen services, JR East said it expects that passengers headed to Haneda Airport will appreciate the extra convenience.

JR East officials said they would consider extending the access line to the international terminal after checking on passenger volume trends at that terminal.