Kansai cargo hub hopes ride on its new runway

by Eric Johnston

airport

. We need to aim to be an independent airport,” Kansai airport President Atsushi Murayama told a recent news conference.

The proposal’s emphasis on freight was no doubt influenced by U.S. cargo carrier DHL. In June, DHL opened up a 5 billion yen facility at the airport. It is five times bigger than the previous building.

The committee’s proposed plan has already come under fire for being overly ambitious in its goals and vague on how the airport can achieve them. Neither does the plan address how the cargo business will grow at an airport that is regularly rated one of the world’s most expensive.

Transport Research Laboratory, a British research institute, noted in a June report that Kansai was the world’s sixth-most costly airport for airlines, while Narita was ranked 17th. Narita’s ranking has dropped due to an average 20-percent cut in landing fees in 2005, the institute said.

Junko Masutani, a Kansai airport spokeswoman, said the new proposal was now being discussed with the various airlines to get their input, and revisions would likely be made before being submitted to the central government.

“The specifics of the proposal may change before we submit it to the central government, as we add suggestions from the airport’s users,” Masutani said.