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OSAKA — New flight paths over land approaching Kansai International Airport will help to increase the airport’s capacity under current operations, it was reported Wednesday by an advisory panel to the Osaka Prefectural Government.

The final report by the panel of six academics said that noise pollution in the area below the flight paths can be minimized if special environmental measures proposed last month by the Transport Ministry are taken. The panel was launched in January 1997 to analyze and assess the flight paths.

Flights from the airport, which opened in 1994, conventionally use paths over water; the airport is located in Osaka Bay on a man-made island 5 km from southern Osaka Prefecture. The new land routes have been discussed as a way to relieve heavy air traffic at the airport.

Jet noise levels were tested on the new paths in February and April, and the report concluded that the levels were within expectations. Panel Chairman Tetsuro Kawashima, professor emeritus at Osaka City University, said, “We discussed the matter on the premise that the airport’s capacity will be fully utilized to make it an international hub-airport while minimizing the pollution to the residents nearby.

“In this sense, we cannot say that there will be no pollution. Even if the noise level is below the environmental standard, some people may feel uncomfortable, so we want to stress that such feelings should not be ignored,” he said.

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