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New airport opens north of Tokyo

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 12.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
A new airport has opened north of Tokyo despite a bleak outlook for passenger traffic.

Ibaraki Airport was built on an Japan Air Self-Defense Force base, with facilities refurbished and a new 2,700-meter runway added at a cost of more than 240 million dollars. It's the 98th airport in Japan and the third in the Greater Tokyo area.

A ceremony was held on Thursday morning before the first departure, a special flight to Kobe by domestic budget carrier Skymark.

The new airport will start with only one regular flight service, a daily roundtrip to Seoul's Incheon Airport offered by South Korea's Asiana Airlines.

Skymark will begin flying a daily roundtrip to Kobe next month.

The airport is expected to service about 200,000 passengers a year, which is about a quarter of the initial estimate.

In Seoul, the first Asiana flight to Ibaraki Airport took off Thursday morning following a commemorative ceremony.

If the daily roundtrips appear profitable, the airline plans to add about 3 new flights a week between Ibaraki and Pusan in a few months.

Times have been tough for the airline industry but flights between Japan and South Korea remain profitable due to the growing number of Japanese tourists seeking to take advantage of the weak South Korean currency.

2010/03/11 12:48(JST)
(JST: UTC+9hrs.)

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