Five years after completing its bus lounge, Chubu Centrair International Airport will finally make the bus service available to the public starting from the Golden Week holidays next spring.
The airport in Tokoname, Aichi Prefecture, built the facility to take international passengers to their planes in March 2009 but saw it go unused due to a drop in demand.
Next year, airlines will begin offering direct flights to Southeast Asia and other regions from the airport, setting the bus lounge up for some action when business picks up.
The lounge, a three-story building made of reinforced steel covering 8,500 sq. meters, is on the east side of the international lobby and will be used to bus passengers to planes parked far from the terminal buildings.
It cost ¥3 billion to build, but the surge in oil prices and the global financial crisis caused many airlines to withdraw from Centrair before the building was completed, and it remained unused except for a few shops on the third floor.
In March, AirAsia X, the largest low-cost carrier in Asia, will begin operating direct round-trip flights from Nagoya to Kuala Lumpur, while Cebu Pacific Air of the Philippines will offer direct flights to Manila. Both carriers plan to offer these new flights four times a week.
During Golden Week, Centrair also predicts that demand will jump for servicing chartered planes.
Passengers usually use the extendable gate ramps from the terminals. Centrair plans to use the bus lounge in the morning, when there is a rush of departing flights.
The company estimates the bus lounge has enough capacity to handle about three morning flights a day, or 500 passengers.
The airport will offer space on the third floor to restaurants and stores.
This section, appearing Saturdays, features topics and issues from the Chubu region covered by the Chunichi Shimbun. The original article was published on Dec. 18.