New Kansai flight routes sought

OSAKA — The Transport Ministry on June 16 presented to Osaka Prefecture its plan to establish two new overland routes for flights at Kansai International Airport.

The ministry is seeking the routes to reduce air traffic congestion. The airport has been forced to reduce the number of domestic flights because more international flights are taking up its limited slots.

But the plan is expected to face strong opposition from the residents of nearby cities and towns, who fear the new routes will result in increased jet noise and run counter to an agreement the government made with the residents before the airport opened. The ministry plans to explain the plan to the residents June 19 to gain their support.

Currently, all incoming and departing flights pass over the sea. But under the new routes, to be used between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., aircraft would use space over the cities of Osaka or Kaizuka, according to the ministry. The ministry officials said flights on those routes would first circle over Osaka Bay to increase altitude to the minimum 8,000 feet prior to crossing over land, to keep noise disturbance down. The officials said, however, that experiments must be conducted to prove aircraft noise will not exceed 70 decibels.