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OSAKA — Some 240 airport and construction officials attended a ceremony Tuesday at Kansai International Airport to mark the building of a second runway, projected for completion by 2007.

Construction of the second runway on the man-made airport island in Osaka Bay has been delayed by budgetary constraints, given that the airport has been unable to turn a profit since opening seven years ago.

Last month, allegations also surfaced of bid-rigging by developers contracted by Kansai International Airport Land Development Co., which was set up in 1996 to oversee the expansion project.

The second-phase expansion risked being postponed last year because of high costs that must be borne by the airport, which has seen an increasing number of airlines pull out, primarily due to a lack of business clients.

But the government authorized the expansion on condition that costs be reduced.

Thus far, more than 100 million cu. meters of earth have been sunk and the external support for the second runway is almost complete.

Huge barges are transporting the earth on an accelerated schedule to make up for the delays and to reach the target completion date.

A connecting bridge between the two offshore runways will be used by aircraft moving from one runway to the other.

Originally, two connecting bridges had been planned, but construction of the second has been shelved.

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