Fukuoka said gearing up for ¥120 billion sale of airport concession rights

Bloomberg

Fukuoka Prefecture is considering a sale of rights to operate the nation’s fourth-biggest state-owned airport, four sources said.

Proceeds from selling the Fukuoka Airport concession may top ¥120 billion, said two of the sources, who asked not to be identified as the talks are private. The Fukuoka Municipal and Prefectural governments are discussing whether to proceed with a sale, the two said.

The government in June unveiled a plan to raise as much as ¥3 trillion over the next decade by selling rights to run airports and other public facilities. The sales are part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to cut Japan’s debt and hike private investment.

Japan has 27 state-run airports, the biggest of which is Tokyo International Airport, also known as Haneda.

Spokesmen for the city of Fukuoka and the land ministry overseeing airport operations declined comment.

Fukuoka, with a population of 5.1 million, would follow Sendai in seeking money from an airport concession sale. The ministry plans to hire a financial adviser next year to oversee an auction for rights to run Sendai Airport, one person said.

Fukuoka Airport handled 17.4 million passengers in 2012, ranking it fourth among state-run airports, according to prefectural data. Some 66.7 million people traveled through Haneda, over double the number for the second-largest, Narita outside Tokyo. New Chitose airport in Hokkaido was third with 17.5 million.

Fukuoka plans to spend ¥180 billion on a second runway to meet an expected surge from Southeast Asia and China, its website said, but no timetable has been set.

Runway operations at state-owned airports are managed by the central government, while terminal buildings are run by firms jointly owned by regional governments and private enterprises, according to the land ministry.