OSAKA — The land ministry plans to postpone the opening of a second runway at Kansai International Airport by about three years from the original target of 2007, ministry sources said Wednesday.

The Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry approached the Osaka Prefecture Government, other local governments and Kansai International Airport Co. this month with the idea to delay opening the runway, for which work has already started. However, Osaka and the airport operator remain firmly opposed to the delay, they said.

The plan calls for a 4,000-meter second runway on reclaimed land to be built off the man-made island that houses the airport. The ministry and the airport operator earlier estimated that flight demand will overtake the capacity of the current runway by 2007.

However, flights to the airport have fallen short of expectations as airlines avoid the facility due to the high landing and takeoff charges.

In addition, since Sept. 11, the number of passengers on international flights at the airport has fallen about 30 percent from a year earlier, causing flight cancellations and reductions.

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